Focus Groups:
Discover in-depth opinions that help guide your decisions.

Responses from a focus group are typically more open-ended and qualitative than surveys, and therefore difficult to ‘score’. However, they provide depth, variety, as well as non-verbal communications and group interactions, which get you closer to how people really feel and think.

When to Hold Focus Groups:

Focus groups take time to recruit and organize. You may need to offer incentives to participants. An experienced, trained leader is essential to keep the group on-topic and draw out opinions without leading the conversation. Whether you use a focus group depends on your needs and the resources available to you. Companies hold focus groups to:

  • Validate new product or service ideas
  • Discover nuances of opinion and depth of sentiment beyond a simple agree/disagree
  • Obtain in-depth responses to questions which are difficult to administer via written or online surveys
  • Add more insights to responses from written or online surveys

General Focus Group Tips:

Make sure it’s what you need. Review and recheck your goals. Depending on what you hope to learn, there may be alternatives to a focus group, or alternatives that are less optimal but more cost-effective.

Line up the resources. Only conduct focus groups when you (a) have the time and resources to recruit group participants and (b) can engage a skilled, experienced group leader. A group leader can also help recruit and organize the session, as well as develop the questions.

Record the session. Focus groups can be an expensive undertaking and you don’t want to miss what participants say. Take an audio, video, or written record of the session.

Get the right participants. You should try to invite a representative sample of your target audience. You may want to hold a focus group for each sample or test mixed groups if your audiences interact in real life.

Share results with the participants. Not only is it courteous to provide feedback, but it can be an opportunity to verify opinions or explore other topics.

Other Smartt Resources:

How Smartt Can Help:

Focus groups can be valuable for branding, usability, and business strategy. Our brand strategy roadmap includes audience definition and research. The opinions and sentiments you discover help shape your messages and visual identity. If you’d like to find out whether a focus group should be part of your research for branding, give us a call.


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