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In part one of this series, we discussed how to conduct an interview to gain valuable information from your target audience. Another information-gathering tool you can use is a focus group. Focus groups consist of fewer than 10 people who have agreed to provide feedback about a topic. There are plenty of advantages – and several disadvantages – to consider before conducting your focus group:

Advantages of Focus Groups

  • Allows you to gauge your customer’s reaction to a product
  • Gain insight concerning what your customer thinks of your competition
  • Saves time, compared to interviews

Disadvantages of Focus Groups

  • Fosters “groupthink
  • Lacks in-depth responses
  • Requires compensation

Don’t let the disadvantages sway you from conducting a focus group. Focus groups can be very effective when it comes to market research and the direction a company is headed.

How to Lead a Focus Group

When done right, focus groups can guide you on the path toward effectively marketing to your target audience. Here are five simple steps to lead a productive focus group:

Step 1: Establish Your Goals

Before recruiting participants, you need a clearly defined goal. What’s the purpose of putting together this focus group? Do you want to know what your customer thinks of a current product? Or how they will respond by changing it completely? Knowing your goal will help you as you write your questions and guide the discussion.

Step 2: Write Your Questions

In a focus group, there is a moderator who leads and controls the discussion. The moderator helps keep the discussion going and gives everyone a chance to talk. Your moderator should have a list of questions to reference to guide the focus group. Make sure to ask questions you don’t already know the answer to and encourage answers deeper than “yes” or “no.”

Step 3: Find Participants Who Represent Your Target Audience

For the most accurate results, you must find participants who are in your target audience. The best way to do this is by reaching out to current customers via social media, eNewsletters, or in-person. Many focus group initiators offer compensation in return for the participant’s time.

Step 4: Lead the Discussion

When you begin your focus group discussion, inform the participants of the focus group’s goal so they have direction. For example, if your company wants to modify your coffee packaging to better reach consumers, let them know this is your end goal!
As a moderator, you must be careful to lead the discussion in a non-biased way, as it’s easy to unintentionally infuse your opinion.  Also, solicit participation from all group members to ensure one person doesn’t dominate the conversation.

Step 5: Analyze & Apply

With permission from the participants, record the focus group session and transcribe the session once it’s complete. Analyze the participants’ answers and report the information to your company. Now, it’s time to apply what you’ve learned to your marketing strategy!

Team With M&R Marketing for Your Marketing Needs

Your business has the opportunity to thrive when it has an effective marketing strategy as its foundation. M&R Marketing excels at creating and implementing marketing strategies for a wide variety of businesses! If you’re unhappy with your current strategy (or don’t have one at all!), we would love to partner with you. Reach out to our team with questions: 478-621-4491.
Stay tuned for part three in our information-gathering series:

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