Why might you do it?
1. I need to get a product in customers hands to understand what they think.
2. I have some creative ideas that I need feedback on.
3. I want some structured debate on our products.
Focus groups do still have their place, albeit in a notably diminished role, as compared to more lightweight and less intrusive techniques. A face-to-face focus group is a great way to get a group conversation about a physical product – if participants physically need to see and touch a product, then this is still a great way to work.
Often a Client is looking for a debate, and this is where we see the heart of focus groups now – for quick deliberations amongst relevant consumers. Again, this is where technology has moved research on somewhat. We typically find ourselves looking more at online focus groups, where we invite all participants onto webcams instead of using a viewing facility. The key benefit to this is that we can focus on the quality of the recruitment first and foremost, rather than having to factor a travel radius around a set venue. In the past, we have run groups with participants in Truro, Glasgow and Cardiff all at once, simply because they were the best participants, rather than those in convenient locations.
Online focus groups work more simply than a traditional focus group. All participants can see each other, but instead of being in a room of strangers in a new environment, they are instead in their homes in a comfortable environment. We have found with this approach there is notably less warm-up needed, as participants start the groups more comfortable. Just like traditional focus groups, Clients can watch first-hand, and even ask the research team questions live using a chat function, as well as talk to their colleagues.
All our groups (online or F2F) are moderated by a pair of researchers, as this enables us to be flexible around additional questioning and the group can continue if the Client team would like to add a new angle.
Quantitative Research Methods
Want to see the big picture? Or do you need to validate thinking before the business invests time and effort? Quantitative research allows us to take a step back and see what the world thinks. Take a look at some of the ways we approach this kind of work.