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How To Run A Successful Focus Group in 5 Easy To Follow Steps



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in this video you'll learn everything

you need to know about running a

successful focus group in five

easy-to-follow steps a property managed

focus group will give you deeper

insights into the minds of your target

audience but a poorly managed one means

wasting precious time and money so stay

tuned

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hi I'm John Harris feel creative before

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marketing focus groups have an

interesting history having first been

used by Ernest pitcher in the 1930s who

took psychological and observational

research techniques and applied them to

business in innovative ways he used

focus groups to understand why people

behave the way they did uncovering

people's desires and predispositions to

brands and products rather than the

standard market research methods at the

time which were focused primarily on

quantifying what customers were doing

ditcher was more interested in exploring

why consumers made the specific purchase

decisions that they did ie the

motivations behind their decisions and

blasting into the 21st century the two

approaches to market research have stood

the test of time

what we call quantitive research

involves analyzing hard data to gain

insights such as examining your sales

figures or your Google Analytics data

for example focus groups on the other

hand work differently as quality

research they rely on exploratory

methods to paint a clearer picture of

what your audience wants

if analytics give you the hard data on

how your target audience is behaving

focus groups help you better understand

why they are behaving in the way that

they are so let's get started with your

first step plan your topics and

questions before you ask a single

question you need to clarify exactly

what the goal of your focus group is

when you start to choose which topics

you'll discuss resist the urge to

squeeze every possible aspect of your

business into the conversation the more

focused your discussion is on a single

topic the more likely it is that you'll

dive deep enough into that topic to

learn something new plus the last thing

you want to do is overload the people in

your focus group our advice consider

running multiple rounds of the focus

group if you'd like to discuss multiple

subjects for example you can run one

focus group on

new product and one a separate

discussion on your advertising campaign

the questions you ask should encourage

exploration and discovery you want to

make sure that you're promoting

discussion with open-ended questions for

example instead of saying something like

did you like our new software consider

saying what are your thoughts on our new

software if you're struggling to think

of what to ask here are the three areas

of questioning that we found to be great

one get to know how they use and feel

about your product to ask them about

your competitors believe it or not

leaning into any perceived weaknesses

can help relax your focus group and lead

to a more natural discussion 3 determine

what they wish for what they want in the

future on top of that you'll want to

create a questionnaire make sure you

leave enough space for general comments

as you collect more information you'll

end up with a collection of common

responses from which you will start

spotting common trends and patterns if

you're going to be facilitating the

focus group yourself make sure you

appoint a designated note-taker

why does this matter well while you're

running the focus group this person can

observe the group and highlight some

noteworthy responses in addition fill in

a focus group with the consent of the

participants can be really helpful as it

will allow you to go back and review the

session at later dates so next let's

move on to the next step

finding participants now we'll admit

this can be a particularly challenging

aspect of running a focus group

especially when some people never show

up the most important thing when it

comes to finding participants is to

ensure that they resemble your target

audience as closely as possible consider

everything from age gender profession

income level and location if your

participants fail to match up to your

target audience you may get

substantially different responses from

your actual customers take an example of

a software company whose focus group is

testing a new product if the primary

decision makers who purchase the product

are CTOs of insurance companies it would

be key to match this demographic as

as possible i'ii make chief technology

officers the primary participants of the

focus group another important thing to

consider is how many participants you

should have in your focus group

traditionally most focus groups

conducted for the purpose of market

research tend to include 10 to 12 people

the advantage of having more

participants is that you can get more

perspectives and will have a larger

sample size to form your conclusions

however on the other hand if your focus

group is too large it will limit the

amount of time each participant has to

share their insights so generally the

sweet spot is usually considered to be

the range of 10 to 12 participants and

from our own personal experience here at

spill this number tends to work well ok

so let's go through some of the main

methods you can use to find your

participants first on your list should

be professional agencies these agencies

can easily help you find the perfect

participants for a small fee hiring a

third party can help ensure objectivity

in selecting the right participant if

relevant for your focus group you can

also approach your existing customers

you can do this by offering compelling

incentives like discounts also consider

finding participants through your social

media channels you can make

announcements to your following and

consider doing paid adverts to recruit

the right people and why stop there you

can conduct location-based promotion

publishing in a local newspapers of

course the best way to ensure you have a

wide range of participants is by

offering compelling incentives for

people to attend cash incentives are

great but if you're on a tight budget

you can be creative future coupon codes

can work exceptionally well here and now

for step 3 how to actually run that

focus group right off the bat you'll

want to have consent forms filled out

before the discussion trust us

everyone's life becomes much simpler

when you get the paperwork out of the

way as mentioned earlier you'll want to

record the focus group either with video

or sound so that you can revisit the

feedback at a later date now let's get

into the actual process of running the

group here's the golden rule the more

comfortable someone is the more likely

they are going to be completely honest

with you and with all this time and

money being poured into market research

the last thing you want

is a room full of yes men take some time

and make sure everyone introduces

themselves to break the ice you can also

expand on this by asking your audience

to share something interesting about

themselves this actually gives you a

chance to learn more about what kind of

people they are and how their behavior

matches up with our other interests once

everyone is feeling nice and comfortable

start asking questions and opening up

discussion and don't worry about pushing

through your list of questions as much

as trying to ask up follow-up questions

a simple why do you think that is can go

a long way if you feel the conversation

starting to die down you can move on to

the next question or ask some follow-up

questions and make sure that every

person in the group has had a chance to

be heard what's important is that the

entire experience feels light relaxed

and straightforward simple enough right

let's talk at the next step analyzing

your feedback

once you finish running your focus group

you'll walk away with plenty of

potentially useful information most of

the key insights should actually become

quite apparent to you during the focus

group itself as the participant voice

their thoughts however don't just rely

on your initial impressions it's

important that once the session is over

that you carefully review the session

notes and re-watch the recordings to

check for rear merging themes and

validate those initial observations it's

also a good idea to get your colleagues

to review the information as well to get

their take on it often in a focus group

you may have certain individuals who are

more assertive and speak with more

conviction than others resulting in them

making a stronger initial impression

which psychologists refer to as

confirmation bias but once you have time

to reflect on your session afterwards

you may realize that the thoughts of

these more assertive participants

weren't necessarily the overall

consensus of the group or that other

participants were simply going along

with them not to offend

which is why spending time properly

reflecting on the findings is essential

before drawing your final conclusions

once you've found those conclusions

we'll then

to validate them while focus groups can

really help provide you with some

excellent insights it's worth

considering their limitations while they

are a great market research tool we

don't advise that you throw all your

eggs in one basket and take word from

your group discussion as gospel the main

limitation of focus groups is that the

findings are derived from a small sample

size so whatever conclusions you draw

will ultimately be the perspectives of a

few participants only which you will

then need to hope accurately reflect the

perceptions of your overall audience

this inherently comes with a degree of

error which you need to be mindful of

another limitation which can result in

distortions is what is known as observer

bias this essentially refers to the fact

that the participants are aware that

they are being observed and therefore

will alter their behavior - this can

lead to participants more willingly

agreeing with other participants

opinions or you as the chair of the

focus group in order to not stand out or

offend anyone and in the same token it

can also have the opposite effect with

some participants feeling the need to

hold a stronger or controversial opinion

a great way to minimize any potential

errors is to see if you can stress test

the findings of your focus group before

completely committing to them for

example let's say you sell organic hair

products which promote healthier hair if

your focus group tells you that they

definitely prefer the color green for

your new shampoo bottle over your usual

red color scheme because they feel green

more closely reflects their perceptions

of health conscious organic products

then before you go and do a full-blown

rebrand you should look to first further

validate this insight for example you

could carry out online surveys and do

a/b testing on smaller sample sizes to

see whether the green bottles that

genuinely sells better than the blue one

so that's it folks we hope you enjoyed

the video and if you have any further

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