Focus Groups:What Are They?What to Do?What Not to Do? Presented by: Ed Balian, Q-Stat Research www.EdwardBalian.com
Types of “Research” • QUANtitative: numbers, charts, graphs, statistics: OBJECTIVE (or at least, supposed to be) • QUALitative: emotions, feelings, impressions, opinions: SUBJECTIVE • Focus Groups are part of the QUALitative family of research. • The “BEST APPROACH” for research on your invention is through using BOTH methods, if you have the time and money. (BTW, Is this a cost or an investment?)
Focus Group “Best Practices Rules” • Carefully select 7-15 people (no more, no less) who you feel represent the “target market” for your product. • Discuss ONLY ONE product at the meeting. • Choose a date at least three weeks in advance • Meeting at a neutral “business” atmosphere (NOT in your home); hotel conference room is ideal • Provide outstanding refreshments: eat first, then talk!
Focus Group (continued) • Offer an incentive to facilitate active interest and participation • MUST HAVE a professional MODERATOR (NOT you or anyone related to you or your friend) • MUST HAVE a written, rough script of questioning paths for the moderator • Do not record (video or audio) the session; a good moderator (with or w/o assistant) takes notes of key impressions and responses. • Expect a final written report from the Moderator on the results of the session.
What to Look for in Focus Group Members • Depending on the demographic characteristics of your target group, begin with the following: • What magazines do they read? What are the demographic characteristics of this group? How might it match your vision of your target market? (Contact a direct mail list broker for breakdowns per magazine) • Daily activities in relation to your product’s usage? • Age, gender, any other basic demographic traits not discovered from above listing? • Also, could be a voluntary sub-group from a prior survey research already completed (always include this volunteer question at the end of any survey)
What to Look for in a Moderator: • Experience in leading groups in discussion • Open-mindedness within the discussion • A SUPREME LISTENER, as opposed to being a “talker” • Complete understanding and a genuine interest in your product or invention. • Flexibility in times and scheduling • A good writer (for your Final Report) • Works with an administrative assistant, never alone • Knowledge of all the points within thisPowerpoint presentation
What NOT to Do: The List of Major Focus Group No-No’s • Choose friends to be in the Focus Group. • Moderate the session yourself or ask your best friend to do it. • Have no written question path or discussion outline. • Conduct the meeting at your house (with your spouse home to boot). • Do not offer any incentives, refreshments or breaks.
Good Results Subjective, but accurate results; even participation Suggestions for improvements Details of weaknesses or threats to the product Emotional reactions to the product, colors, packaging examples shown during the session Clear, concise “Plan of Action” in Final Report Not-So-Good Results INACCURATE feedback from the group—WORSE than no focus group study at all. No details in discussion, too vague All blue sky with too much SUNSHINE Ringleaders taking control of session over Moderator Vague or no written Final Report. Good and Not-So-Good Focus Group Results:
“Plan of Action”in Written Final Report • SWOT Report: For your product or invention, what were the details on: • Strengths of your invention or product • Weaknesses • Opportunities • Threats • Priority Listings (From this, you will create a Plan of Attack on the weaknesses and threats and revise/edit your Marketing Plan based on the strengths and opportunities)
Final Thoughts • Books on the subject (many: just Google “Focus Groups/textbooks/references” • Hire a Professional Moderator. This is a serious INVESTMENT, not a “cost” of inventing. • If you don’t want to hear the answers, don’t ask the questions! The truth will only IMPROVE your product and dramatically improve your chances of commercial success!
Question/Answer Session • Examples from the audience? • Discuss • Possible Questioning Path/Session Outline? • Demographic characteristics of target market? • Possible site locations? • What to look for in a Moderator?
Contact Info: • email@example.com • Thanks for your attention. This presentation is available online at • www.EdwardBalian.com