Focus groups provide market research firms with efficient ways to garner qualitative data from several people at one time. Whereas an interview can be lengthy and provide only feedback from a singular perspective, the focus group can capitalize on the group setting by utilizing peer interactions and dynamics to gather a (relatively) quick and general overview of the questions at hand. In order to facilitate the best data via this means, it is paramount that a market research firm has a firm understanding of how best to recruit an effective focus group.
Make use of the following guidelines for recruiting your next focus group:
Establish a Clear Objective for the Group
Nothing can get accomplished if you don’t have a clear understanding of why you have gathered a group together. And nothing frustrates participants more than an unorganized and fruitless discussion. Narrow your topic until you have the correct questions to ask. This will point you to the people most qualified to be in your group. For example, a focus group on customer satisfaction should include past customers, not potential ones who have never used your product or services.
Develop a Qualifying Questionnaire for Your Potential Group
Once you know what your focus group is going to explore and who you want to recruit for their opinions, you will need to formulate a relevant qualifying application for your participants. Questions for potential candidates might screen for topic knowledge or prior experience within a focus group setting and make use of demographics (gender, age, income, education). In this way, your eventual focus group will embody the characteristics of customers best suited to discuss your product or service.
Have a Plan
Know when and how you will communicate with your group. Clear expectations make focus group recruiting easier on everyone involved. Initial interactions with group applicants should outline concise objectives and allow for the full scope of information gathering. No one wants to be hounded with repeated contacts because the market research firm neglected to ask or relay important information the first time.
Offer an Incentive
We all know that most people want something in return for their time or experience. When recruiting a focus group, it is important to remember this fact. Offering a small (or large) incentive can be the difference in getting a qualified, excited group and getting one “just going through the motions.” Incentives can be monetary, such as cash, or non-monetary, such as products, services or other gifts. They can even combine the two. Tailor your incentives to your group - the amount of time each is spending, the amount of effort each is investing, and the amount of experience each is bringing – and hopefully, your focus group will stay motivated and engaged.
If you are interested in learning more about focus group recruiting, contact Communications for Research, the premier market research company in the St. Louis area. You’ll speak to our co-CEO Colson Steber to determine whether focus group recruiting should be a part of your market research plan or how CFR can help you recruit the focus group members you need.