How to Deliver Successful Focus Groups

Setting up a focus group is a great way of quickly collecting qualitative data but without the correct structure and approach, you will not be able to optimise the opportunity. If you are going to go to the trouble of inviting a? group of people to join a focus group, you need to make sure that you use every minute of that time wisely.

Experience shows that regardless of your field of business, the most important factors to consider are as follows:

1. Plan, Plan, Plan

You probably got it the first time but in case there’s any doubt, you need to carefully plan out the structure of the event. Draw out your objectives and construct a list of questions that will ensure your objectives are met.

2. Target the Right Participants

Depending on the nature of the data that you want to collect, you may be able to target participants that you know will be able to provide the insight that you need. For example, you wouldn’t ask a group of baking enthusiasts to provide their opinions on the latest model of Harley Davidson Motorbike. You can use social media or specialist agencies to find people who are relevant potential consumers who can provide feedback on the subject that you require.

3. Set up the Right Environment

It is important that participants feel comfortable enough to get involved in the discussion, so spend a little bit of time to relax them. Maybe have a brief ‘Ice-Breaker’ to help people to feel comfortable with the rest of the group. Don’t take too long with this though, as you need to use your time well.

4. Good Time Management

As mentioned earlier, every minute counts so you need to keep a firm grasp on how the time is spent. A good moderator needs to know when a conversation has gone off track and how to quickly bring it back into focus. Do a bit of research into holding effective meetings to make sure you’re well-equipped. You will waste both your own time and everyone else’s if you let one person drone on about an unrelated topic. As we all know, some people really like the sound of their own voice but the whole purpose of a focus group is to get full input from all members of the group. Moderating a focus group is no easy task and it requires a refined skillset to get the most out of the session. If you would like some help with yours, why not speak to the expert.  

5. Strategic Questions

To collate qualitative data, you must ask open-ended questions. A Yes or No set of answers should be collated through other methods such as an online survey. You need to ask questions that will provide as much information as possible in the time available (usually 90-120 mins). Make sure that you have a long list of questions and that you put them in an order that naturally flows, rather than jumping from topic to topic.
There are lots of different factors to consider when holding a focus group but the overall key to its success lies with the planning. Investing time in the early stages will ensure that you optimise the opportunity.

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