Fri 7 Sep 2007
Use Focus Groups to Promote and Grow Your Business
Using focus groups for discussions and opinions to formulate appropriate marketing strategies is a favorite tool used by many large companies. As a small business owner, you too can make use of this highly successful technique.
Composition of Focus Groups
Focus groups are usually made up of eight or ten people who are selected on the basis of certain demographic or other characteristics such as specific income range, purchasing behavior or family structure.
Conducting the Discussion
A skilled facilitator usually leads the group in a discussion to draw out preferences, prejudices, apprehensions and passions related to the company and products, without making judgments. Often, a number of similar groups are formed for repeated discussions among different people of similar characteristics. After a few rounds of discussions, you will notice patterns, themes and trends emerging.
A smart consultant can offer advice on how many groups are necessary for the overall exercise.
Your Part during the Discussion
You as a client can sit in another room to listen and watch the interaction through a one way mirror. The participants are made aware of people watching and listening to the discussion, but it is done quickly in a casual manner through a short statement in the midst of the discussion.
The Cost Factor
The costs involved can vary anywhere from a couple of thousand dollars to ten thousand dollars depending on the venue, the agency hired to conduct the discussion and the participants.
Why Focus Groups Are Used
Focus groups can be very useful for both small and large businesses, although the cost factor can sometimes be prohibitive for small business owners. However, by offering a small incentive, small businesses can entice people to take part in a focus group and record the results, leading to valuable information being gathered about their products and services.
Conducting a focus group may seem like an intense exercise, and it is — but the resulting information is well worth the effort.