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Have you ever wanted to reach into the mind of your target audience to unlock the secrets that would make them choose you over your competitors? What about analyzing your current customer base to discover what works and what they think you could improve? Or have you ever wanted to know how your team really feels about the processes and methods in place at your company?

By conducting effective, thorough focus groups, you can uncover what you want to know and so much more. A well-organized focus group is a marketing tool that allows you to tap into the minds of your targeted demographic and receive a range of qualitative information to help guide decisions that affect your company’s growth.

What Is a Focus Group?

A focus group gathers a selected number of people, ideally ten or so participants, who can best speak to the topics you want to know more about. For instance, through a focus group, you can bring together:

  • Current customers
  • Perspective customers
  • Current employees
  • Former employees
  • Executive team members

Whatever your topics of interest are, there are groups of people who can provide relevant insights into each one. You can even get hyper-specific with your groups, selecting individuals who fall within certain age ranges, live in specified locations, have particular consumer behaviors, etc.

However, you want to avoid too much similarity within each group; it’s best to choose individuals who can offer varied and unique perspectives. Through interviewing groups with variety, you’ll receive nuanced, detailed, and natural feedback about the topics you are curious about.

Who Should Utilize a Focus Group?

Focus groups work to provide deeper insights for any company or organization, from retail stores to service companies, academic institutions, nonprofit organizations, or any other entity that wants to find out more from their team or the people they serve. If there are insights you want to know that cannot be gathered through individual interviews or surveys, a focus group is a tool that can unlock the details you are looking for.

Focus Groups vs. Surveys

While focus groups and surveys are both intended to extract helpful information from the group in question, there are differences between the two marketing tools:

Focus Groups

  • Focus groups are collaborative.
  • Moderators can observe how individuals in the group interact with one another.
  • Individuals can feed off one another to provide further details or insights into a particular question.
  • Individuals can better explain or elaborate on their answers.
  • Together, the group can provide a more comprehensive understanding of the topic at hand.


  • Surveys are individualistic.
  • Surveyed individuals do not have other like-minded people to help spur more profound thoughts or additional responses.
  • Depending on the questions, surveys are often more quantitative than qualitative.
  • Surveys provide answers, but they do not always offer explanations for the provided answers.
  • Surveys are better for larger groups, while focus groups are best conducted with no more than ten people.

How Do Focus Groups Help Grow Business?

Conducting a focus group means asking well-formulated, open-ended, group-specific questions that provide you with insights you can’t always receive through other marketing tools. And, through the responses you receive, you can apply the feedback however you see fit. While feedback should not inspire you to make fast or final decisions about your business, it can help you think through your planning more effectively and insightfully and steer you toward better decisions.

For instance, let’s say you are an educational institution for grades K-12 that has seen a gradual decline in application and enrollment numbers in the past three years. To help guide your marketing efforts to improve enrollment numbers, you can conduct a series of focus groups to gain better insight into what has been working and what has not.

Groups you can arrange to speak to may include:

  • First- to third-year parents who can share insights about why they enrolled during the period of decline.
  • Long-time parents who can offer insights into the marketing tactics that worked in the past.
  • Former parents who can share why they switched to different schools.
  • Parents of students at similar schools who can share why they opted not to apply or enroll at yours.
  • Faculty and staff who can provide a connected but non-parental perspective about what is and is not working for the school.
  • Students or recent alums who can share insights into what it is like to actually attend the school.

For every organization or business, there are numerous reasons to conduct a focus group and a variety of group types you can speak with. And only some should be interviewed. Selecting four or so groups to speak with can provide a comprehensive variety of feedback to guide your business and marketing decisions moving forward. It may also offer guidance for changes to your process, especially if feedback shows that current processes are hindering growth instead of fostering it.

To gain the insights you need to drive your business forward, talk to M&R Marketing about conducting your next focus groups! 478-621-4491

As your marketing experts, we offer focus group discussion services that draw effective, valuable insight out of participants for the benefit of your company or organization. From developing formulated questions per group to leading discussions, taking thorough notes, and presenting our findings, we can ensure your focus groups are productive at guiding your business decisions and marketing efforts moving forward.

Contact one of our business development managers to discover more about the benefits of focus groups today!

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