How To Run a Focus Group
Unlike a simple survey with a string of yes or no questions, a focus group allows you to further engage with a mixed group of consumers who can offer more feedback than a yes or a no. You’ll be able to hear people’s full opinions, see their physical reactions, and experience their tone when talking about your topic. This can help you learn more about how the public perceives your ideas, products, etc.
What is a Focus Group?
Unlike a quantitative survey that collects surface-level data, a focus group can offer more qualitative data from a select group of consumers. Whether the goal is to develop a new product or release a new marketing campaign, having a focus group can help you predict how these new ideas will play in the current market. There’s no one better to hear from than the people who will be in your consumer group, as they’re the ones who are ultimately going to buy your product.
During a focus group, a moderator hosts a discussion with a group of about ten people. Typically held in a conference room, a moderator will ask open-ended questions to their group regarding a particular subject to gauge how they feel about the topic. It provides immediate and qualitative feedback to the company and can help them decide if they want to continue with their plans.
How Do You Run a Focus Group?
To get the most out of your focus group, you’ll need to run it professionally and thoughtfully. You’ll need to plan what topics you want to focus on, what answers you’re hoping to receive, and know who will run your focus group. Picking a good moderator will help ensure that your focus group stays talkative and comfortable enough to give their honest opinions.
Picking a Topic
The topic of discussion is the primary component of this study. You’ll need to have a precise topic and know internally what answers you want in return. Keep the groups focused on this topic to avoid anyone straying from the point or creating a tangent discussion.
When choosing questions to ask your focus group, you’ll want to make sure they are goal-oriented and open-ended. This helps keep people focused on the topic while allowing them to discuss their opinions and ideas for that topic freely.
Setting the Atmosphere
It’s essential to create a safe and comfortable environment for your group. You want your participants to feel welcome and safe in giving their opinion of something a company has been working on for weeks. You can get the most out of your participants and genuinely get to the root of their thoughts and ideas by making them feel at home.
Guide the Discussion
Having the moderator guide the discussion process will help ensure that every opinion is heard. There’s typically always a person who has a dominant personality and will take control of the discussion if they aren’t corralled. You’ll want to make sure that all participants have a chance to give their thoughts and ensure they receive no judgment in return.
The primary takeaway is that running a focus group can be an easy, fun, and effective way to get qualitative data on your ideas before they go live. You can get opinions on marketing campaigns, products, slogans, or mission statements. It’s essential to ensure that you create an environment for collaboration and honesty so that you and your panel of participants can get the most out of the experience.