What people think, and why they think the way they do-this is the first principle of deciding whether to use a focus group. Focus group research is used to-
- Identify underlying beliefs and opinions
- Develop messaging and strategic communications
- Implement political or social issues strategies
- Explore consumer purchasing behavior
- Evaluate the effectiveness of advertising concepts
- Assess strengths and weaknesses in customer service
Focus group research is conducted by hosting in-depth, organized discussions with a small group of carefully selected people to gain insight into their views and experiences on any given topic. The give and take of the group discussion is the resulting data of this reliable, cost effective methodology.
Unlike traditional quantitative or survey research, which measures attitudes and behavior, focus groups look to understand the hearts and minds of the desired target market. They seek to understand the rationale behind these attitudes and behaviors.
A focus group is an interactive session that allows participants to talk with other group members about a certain topic. These sessions, lead by the right moderator, can be invaluable in acquiring feedback and getting to the core of what people think.
Focus groups may have a low-tech feel, but more often than not, it is a series of focus groups rather than traditional telephone polling data that uncovers the hidden truth. Historically, quantitative or survey data has helped set themes and issues, but focus groups have determined strategic communication and implementation.
Focus groups vary from 60 minutes to 90 minutes per session with eight to ten participants led by a experienced moderator. Clients can observe the focus group session via closed circuit television and hear direct responses from customers or constituents.
The quality of data resulting from a focus group depends on the skills of the moderator. An experienced moderator is needed to manage focus groups and minimize the impact of group influencers.
The Craciun Moderating Difference
- Craciun moderators maintain top-of-mind awareness of study objectives, keep the discussion “focused” on these objectives, and tailor their moderating style to the type of group.
- Open-ended questions are asked of the entire group, and the moderator facilitates the discussion, remaining neutral and avoiding lead-in questions that reflect the moderator’s opinion.
Online Focus Groups
Online focus groups are held in a “virtual facility,” and the group is conducted utilizing enhanced web conferencing software rather than in person.
Conducting focus groups online is a good format for testing visual concepts and ideal for participants who are spread out geographically, but does not allow for the study of non-verbal communication of the participants.