You hear about them all the time but what exactly is a focus group and when should you use them? Is it something your business should do? At its most basic level, a focus group is adiverse group of people gathered to participate in a guided discussion about a product before it’s launched, or to provide feedback on a political campaign or TV series.
The focus group organizers study the participant’s reaction for research and use those reactions to determine the value and effectiveness of whatever it is they’re testing. It’s a great way to tailor your products and services to your target audience’s needs and desires.
So, yes…if you want to know what your target audience thinks about you, your business should run a focus group. In this article, we’ll look at 4 examples of times a focus group could be beneficial.
Run a focus group to get impressions/feedback on a product or service
If you’re looking to launch a new product or service, run a focus group with people in your target audience. Gauge their initial reaction and then have them interact with your product/service. You’ll get honest (sometimes brazen) feedback you can use to make improvements before the launch.
Run a focus group to test marketing material
Whether you’re branding your business for the first time or re-branding, you want to make sure your marketing materials appeal to your target audience. Test everything from your color selections to the quality of your photos, the font, the info-graphics, and your web layout. Focus groups have nothing to gain or lose from being insincere or dishonest (since they’re rewarded for their time regardless of their answers), so you’ll know their responses are genuine.
Run a focus group to test a TV ad
Another popular thing to test with focus groups are advertisements. Blind spots in your own marketing become painfully (and sometimes hilariously) obvious once it’s put before a group of strangers. You’ll also be able to clearly note involuntary expressions throughout that the participants themselves may be unaware of. These are great indicators of the impact of your commercial or ad. After the commercial, open it up to an open or a guided Q&A.
Run a focus group to prepare a survey
This will require multiple focus groups to ensure your data is accurate, but running a focus group to prepare a survey is a fantastic way to add credibility to your product or service. We all feel more comfortable making a purchase or changing our habits if statistics support us doing so.
The above examples don’t fully illustrate all the ways focus groups are useful, but they are among the most common and effective. So, before you launch that new…whatever, see what your target audience thinks about it so you can go forward with confidence.
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