A focus group is a tool companies use for qualitative market research.
In a focus group, a facilitator asks participants about their preferences, perceptions, ideas, and opinions about a certain product, concept, or service. Participants answer these questions and interact with other members of the group. The company representative (facilitator) records their responses and uses them as qualitative data.
In marketing, focus groups serve to help provide information and feedback about specific products. The subject of discussion can also be a promotional concept or any other service for which client feedback or acceptance needs to be determined. In this way, companies are able to do testing even before a product or advertisement is released. Focus groups can be a low-cost, accurate method of gathering important data for market research.
Types of Focus Groups
There are different types of focus groups. In a dual-moderator focus group, one facilitator regulates the flow of the discussion while the other ensures that the necessary points are taken up. In dueling moderator groups, two facilitators take opposing positions, thus opening up the floor for debate. Mini focus groups, on the other hand, are made up of fewer members. There are other kinds of focus groups. The type to be used is determined by the kind of information the company wants to gather.
Why Use Focus Groups?
One advantage of using focus groups is that very specific information and insights which may not be readily accessible can be gathered. However, some individual responses can also be reactions to other opinions during the discussion, and may not be as reliable. When using this method of research, it is important to plan the process carefully, conduct careful screening of participants, and know how to interpret and use the data correctly.