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Focus Group Research: “What I Get”

If you’re unfamiliar with the ins and outs of marketing research, you may wonder what exactly is a focus group? What will I get? What will it cost?

Focus Groups are a qualitative method of marketing research. They are used as a discovery form of research, securing information and determining what it is you don’t know yet — that is, when you aren’t even sure of what some of the questions might be.

Focus groups will often be used in conjunction with quantitative research, such as survey projects. Sometimes groups are conducted before the survey to help formulate the questions; sometimes a focus group is run afterwards to more deeply explore the survey results.

Once it has been determined that focus groups are the best way to approach your specific marketing problem, the process will go something like this:

Prior to the Focus Group or Groups:

  • Your objectives are identified and clarified
  • The most appropriate market(s) for the research is (are) identified
  • A discussion guide is developed
  • A recruitment screener is developed
  • A focus group facility is reserved in each market
  • A panel of appropriate respondents is recruited for each market

At the Focus Group:

  • The moderator guides the discussion
  • If they choose to, clients view the focus group from a separate room behind a one-way mirror
  • Notes are taken
  • Audio tapes (and videotapes if requested) are made
  • At the conclusion, respondents are paid an incentive, usually cash, for their participation

After the Focus Group:

  • From the audio tapes, a written “key verbatim” transcript is prepared
  • A thorough analysis of the feedback is conducted
  • A report is written which may include the moderator’s key findings, conclusions and recommendations, and an executive summary

These post-group services are negotiable to fit your needs and your budget — some clients want the whole ball of wax, some prefer just to take their tapes and go.

Do you need a professional Focus Group Moderator or Facilitator?