A focus group is a marketing research method that allows obtaining the opinions of a target audience about a product, service, or brand. The focus group consists of people who discuss the proposed topic and share their opinions with the company. Usually, the method is used in the stage of developing a new solution or making significant changes to an existing product. Focus groups are used for various purposes:
- Studying the preferences of the target audience;
- Identifying weaknesses in the product;
- Obtaining information for product improvements;
- Forecasting the success of entering the market;
- Analyzing competitors.
Marketing research companies, advertising agencies, and/or manufacturers organize focus groups. In addition to marketers, sociologists or psychologists can be involved in the process. The goal of creating a focus group is to obtain feedback from potential or existing customers. Usually, focus groups consist of 6-10 people who meet certain selection criteria, such as age, gender, social status, profession, etc. Sometimes, the group participants may be randomly selected.
During the focus group, participants are given a topic to discuss, such as their opinion about a new product, package design, etc. To obtain valuable information, the group must be as objective as possible and freely express any thoughts about the product. The discussion may not necessarily be complimentary, and companies need to calmly accept the criticism of the participants.
Depending on the method of conducting, a moderator may be involved in the focus group discussion. The moderator will ask necessary questions, ensure that the discussion goes in the right direction, and stimulate the discussion. The focus group itself can be organized online or in person with the participants. Based on the discussion results, the company that conducted the focus group compiles a report. From this report, the business can draw conclusions for its further decisions. Focus groups can be useful for both large and small companies that want to receive feedback on their products or services.