Interviews or Focus Groups: Do Brands Still Need These?
A focus group in marketing research helps brands get insights into a particular aspect to formulate their strategies accordingly. Focus groups and interviews are small-group discussions to gather primary information on a specific topic. It is led by a trained person.
Many market focus groups include visualized methods and product samples trials in their discussions. This way, they get to know about customers’ perceptions of a particular product or idea, which helps them guide future actions.
Yet, many companies wonder if they even need these market research techniques in this digital era or not. Are these methods effective today in the 21st century?
Let’s dig deeper into the focus group marketing concept to find answers.
What are Interviews or Focus Groups?
A focus group can be defined as a primary research tool that helps you collect first-hand information. In marketing, you can specify a focus group as a sample representing a population on a specific topic.
Focus groups or interviews help advertise agencies conduct their own research rather than using secondary data easily accessible to their competitors. They gather original and different data and plan their actions more effectively than others.
Typically, a company’s market researchers ask the focus group participants a list of questions or provide a product to try and share their feedback. The firm then studies the opinions, reactions, and ideas of these participants to evaluate the response of a larger market population.
Examples of focus groups in marketing include an electronics company collecting customers’ feedback about a product before its launch. Another example would be an advertising agency discussing innovative product ideas with the focus group.
What Does a Focus Group Panel Consist of?
A focus group panel company usually consists of 5 to 10 individuals with similar characteristics related to a particular topic. An interviewer or a moderator guides the discussion and allows each participant to express their perceptions and points of view in public.
What Are Different Types of Focus Groups?
Various focus groups, depending on the nature of communication and the participants involved. So, go through them to choose the right focus marketing group for your company.
Mini Focus Group
It is a small group of only four to five participants. Although there are fewer participants, the group can also discuss more pressing issues.
Online Focus Group
These focus group discussions require participants to share their viewpoints online. Such groups reach a more comprehensive range of participants.
Here two groups are involved in the discussion. One answers the moderator’s questions, and the other listens to them. Then, at the end of the session, the latter group carries out the discussion and develops several conclusions.
Dual-moderator focus groups are usually more productive and efficient than those with one moderator. In this type, you’ll have two moderators. One will ensure that the whole discussion session continues smoothly, and the other focuses on asking all the questions related to the topic.
The primary purpose is to bring in more innovative ideas and think points. These focus groups also include two moderators playing devil’s advocates. This means they pretend to oppose an opinion or plan that most participants agree upon to give them considerably more options.
This refers to one or more participants of the group behaving as moderators. This changes the traditional settings of the focus group and encourages people to be more open with their responses.
Are Focus Groups Helpful for a Brand?
When focus groups perform efficiently, they can be an excellent addition to a business’ market research resource. If the focus group participants stay focused on the topic, the outcomes are generally expected to be helpful to a company.
An advertising agency needs to create an open environment for the focus group that welcomes every member’s feelings, perceptions, and decisions. This way, the participants feel more comfortable conveying their ideas openly.
The moderator should also be skillful enough to guide the discussions in the right direction. When every person works how they should be, the results are valuable to the firm.
One of the most significant benefits of using focus groups is the flexible design. This means you can clearly see and understand a participant’s tone, gestures, and body language when they give their input about a particular product.
The moderator has to be prepared well to help decision-makers speak more effectively to yield more benefits from focus group discussions. Moderators can also talk directly to the customers to collect relevant and original data.
Even though businesses and advertising agencies usually have complex data stored, it ultimately doesn’t reflect the quantitative aspect. Thus, focus groups’ findings can help companies better understand the quantitative data and see what their consumers are talking about.
Do Companies Need a Focus Group in the 21st Century?
In this digitalized world where everything has gone online, focus groups have become obsolete. Many advertising agencies now focus on online media, such as social networking platforms, online polls and surveys, and email marketing to gather customers’ feedback and responses.
Yet, many industry giants like Disney, Apple, Dove, and Southwest Airlines still use focus groups to gain powerful ideas, even in the 21st century. Thus, saying that a focus group is now an old-school method would be complete ignorance.
In 2017, it was estimated that around $2.2 billion was invested in focus groups worldwide. So, companies need to adopt a focus group to gain better customer insights about a product or idea.
If you’re preparing to use focus groups or interviews, the first step is to develop a series of questions to ask the participants. You can make the most out of your market research focus groups.
Focus groups are valuable for companies to gain preliminary information about a specific topic or product. The focus group members sit together and share their opinions relevant to the discussion.
The members are paid to participate in marketing focus groups. These groups usually last 1 to 3 hours. At the end of the session, the company’s market researchers evaluate each member’s opinions, reasoning, and point of view to conclude the findings.
Advertising professionals can also use a market research company like TheExpertCafé to help the advertising industry ahead in the future race. So, register at TheExpertCafé to get started today!