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What You Can Expect for Your Focus Group Investment

A Focus Group Consists of the Following:

  • A discussion guide, developed with the aid of the focus group moderator.
  • A screener used to recruit the proper people for the group.
  • A facility is reserved, and the panel(s) of respondents is (are) recruited.
  • At the time of the groups, the moderator guides the discussion and the clients view the groups in a separate room behind a one-way mirror.
  • Proper notes are taken and audio (and sometimes videotapes) are made.
  • When the group concludes, the respondents are given a cash incentive for their participation.
  • Using the audiotapes, a “key verbatim” transcription is made. Only pertinent information on the subject of the focus group is used in the “key verbatim” transcript.
  • Using the transcripts, a report may be written which includes the moderator’s conclusion and recommendations, an executive summary, the “key verbatim” transcript and a seating chart.

 

What are Typical Focus Group Costs?

Well, it depends.

Focus group costs include: the moderator’s fees, the cost of providing a facility, and the costs of recruiting the respondents. Considering only the costs of the facility and recruiting, here are the average charges for an easy-to-recruit group.

      $  
Facility only, one group (focus group suite, hostesses,                              
     audio & video tapes, refreshments)                                                              700
Facility only, two or more groups in one day                            1,400
Recruiting only, one group, recruit 12 for 10 to show                            900
Facility & recruiting, one group                            1,500

(For two or more groups, just multiply!)

Those numbers are for the easy-to-recruit situations, which is the norm. When looking for people that are hard to find, such as someone who’s been to New Zealand in the last twelve months, the price can go up.

 

How Much is the Incentive for Focus Group Participants?

Few consumers out there are willing to give up two or more hours to come in and discuss the finer points of our products without an inducement. The incentive for a two-hour focus group starts at $50 and ranges up to as much as $300 each. For a group of twelve showing, you can plan on from $600 to $3,600. The reason the incentive increases is two-fold. Executives, doctors and attorneys value their time more highly and won’t respond to a low number. Ultimately, our experience and intuition will help to set an appropriate incentive.

 

What are the Costs for all the Services Provided by the Moderator?

Average costs for a single group:

      $  
Develop a discussion guide                            400
Write a screener                            100
Moderate                            1,800
Prepare a written report                            1,900
Or:
All of the above, one group                            4,000
All of the above, two groups                            6,550
(Same discussion guide)
All of the above, no report, one group                            2,500
All of the above, no report, two groups                            4,300

 

Summary of Focus Group Costs

For one focus group:

  Low Typical High
Facility $    700 $    800 $  1,000
Recruiting 1,200 1,500 1,800
Incentives 600 900 3,000
Moderator Services 1,500 2,000 2,500
Totals 4,000 5,200 8,300

That’s it. For $5,000, you can have a single group of easy-to-find respondents and a moderator who only conducts the discussion. At the high end, the group consists of something like widows with over a million dollars cash to invest and an expressed interest in purchasing loads of life insurance. For the average focus group, the price is close to the middle option.

Pricing will go down on a cost per group basis when more than four groups are conducted. And of course, each project can be customized to meet budget objectives!

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