Focus group research is one of the most popular and effective market research methods available. It is used to gather qualitative data as well as in-depth insights. Focus groups can be used to help collect information on anything from customers’ reaction to a new product to customer perception and beliefs. 

A typical focus group has 6 to 10 respondents who are guided by a trained moderator to engage in a discussion or test products. Predetermined questions are asked to understand the feelings and thoughts of respondents on a particular product, topic, or area of interest. The whole process promotes a free-flowing discussion which later helps a brand make informed decisions based on responses from target clients. 

Online vs. face-to-face – which is better?

Advancements in technology have made it possible for focus groups to take place online rather than in person. With the online option, the participant login to a secure site where the discussion is conducted. The advantage of an online focus group is that there are no geographical restrictions because anyone from any location can participate. With the traditional focus group research, the main advantage is the respondents will have a more natural rapport. This encourages a more free flowing dialogue. 

Your choice on whether to use online or face-to-face will depend on your type of study. For example if the study will involve food tasting, an online study group will not be ideal. 

Different Types of Focus Groups

  • Single focus group

This type of focus group involves a moderator asking questions and a group of respondents answering and discussing the topic. This is what most people think of at the mention of a focus group. 

  • Mini focus group

This is a focus group with 4 to 5 respondents. It is preferred because a smaller group of people helps create a more intimate environment for discussing sensitive issues. 

  • Two-way focus group

This involves two focus groups, with each having its own moderator. A group member observes the other group as they discuss or answer questions. This helps gain more insights. 

Other types of focus groups include:

  • Dual moderator focus group
  • Dueling moderator focus group
  • Respondent moderator focus group
  • Remote focus group

Advantages of Focus Group Research

The main advantage of focus group research is that it helps you to easily measure customer reaction. Focus groups will give you immediate ideas on how to improve your concepts or products. They will help you understand the areas where your product is lacking. You will also get insight into the present position of your competitors in the mind of your customers. 

Another advantage is that the condensed nature of the focus group enables you to solicit a number of opinions as well as feedback on various aspects of your products without the time-intensive process of individually soliciting interviews. Knowing what your target market thinks of your concept will save you time and money, which would otherwise have been wasted developing a product that nobody might want or need. 

If you are ready to get started on your focus group research, contact us today.