What are focus groups?
A Focus Group is a market research tool which involves a group of people, usually between 6 and 12, who have been selected to participate in a pre-planned group discussion, and/or Q&A session, to gauge opinion on a product or service. Using a focus group to research your products or service before you start your business, can help you to identify ways to sell or advertise to your target group. It’s also a valuable tool when introducing a new product or service, or to find out how your product or service is being perceived.
What are the benefits of organising a Focus Group?
Focus groups can help you to gather a broader range of information than surveys because they allow people to voice their opinions in their own words and add meaning to their answers. They can also generate ideas for improving or adapting your product/service which you may not have considered.
How do I set up a focus group?
1. Decide on what type of people you want in your group: age, income, gender, employment?
2. Advertise your focus group in a way that’s going to attract the people you want. You could use Facebook, for example, go to community centres or mother and child groups, have a stall in a market and invite people who come to look at your product, put up a poster or invite people you know personally.
3. Arrange a venue for your focus group. It should be somewhere easily accessible, private and quiet enough to talk.
4. Ensure the meeting space is well prepared beforehand i.e. layout, equipment, parking spaces etc.
5. Prepare an introduction which explains the purpose of thee focus group and how it will work
What questions do I ask the group?
Work out what information you need. Create a set of questions which will give you this information. Ensure that these are easy to understand and will give you the answers you need. Get someone who does not know what you are doing to look at your introduction and questions to see if you get the right sort of answers.
- Would you use this product?
- Would you buy this product for yourself?
- Would you buy this product as a gift?
- How much would you pay for this product?
- Would you pay x amount for this product?
- How would you improve this product?
- What is your opinion on the packaging of this product?
- Does the packaging make you want to buy the product?
- What do you think of the colours used in the packaging?
- Where would you go to buy this product?
- Do you have any other ideas about this product?
Online Focus Groups
Running an online focus group eliminates the need for travel, refreshments, and finding a venue. Other advantages could include people feeling more able to speak out as they are anonymous to the rest of the group and can sit in the comfort of their own home.
Disadvantages include not being able to see the body language of the participants, which provides another method of seeing how a product is received.
Don’t make it last too long – participants could lose focus or get bored
If possible, arrange refreshments
Don’t make the group too big – you don’t want anyone to feel left out, or unable to voice their opinions