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 less 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 “group think”
- Lacks in-depth responses
- Requires compensation
Don’t let the disadvantages sway you from conducting a focus group. Focus groups can be very beneficial 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 right 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 deeper answers 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-bias way, as it’s common to infuse your opinion unintentionally. Also, seek equal representation from your audience to ensure one person doesn’t fill the dialogue.
Step 5: Analyze & Apply
With permission from the participants, record the focus group session and transcribe the session once it’s complete. Analyze the participant’s 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 a marketing strategy 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:
- Part 1: How to Reach Your Target Audience through Interviews
- Part 3: How to Reach Your Target Audience through Social Media