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Focus Groups What are they? How do I host one? A Step-by-Step Guide. Jessica Friedman Director of Marketing and Communications August 23, 2013. What is a focus group?. A form of market research Open discussion among 10–15 people Used in conjunction with interviews and surveys

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focus groups what are they how do i host one a step by step guide

Focus GroupsWhat are they? How do I host one?A Step-by-Step Guide

Jessica Friedman

Director of Marketing and Communications

August 23, 2013

what is a focus group
What is a focus group?
  • A form of market research
  • Open discussion among 10–15 people
  • Used in conjunction with interviewsand surveys
  • Help identify opinions or perceptions among your audience
  • Help you learn more about a topic
what sort of focus groups has ncma had
What sort of focus groups has NCMA had?
  • New Professionals
  • Small Business
  • Communities
  • Ethics and Compliance
  • CMBOK
  • More!
what are the steps involved
What are the steps involved?
  • Identify a topic or objective
  • Set up a timeline (start planning 6–8 weeks out)
  • Participant/volunteer management
  • Location/logistics planning

- Overlaps with #2 and #3

  • Summarize or create a report of findings
details for each step identify a topic or objective 1
Details for each step – Identify a topic or objective (#1)
  • New Professionals (as example)
    • NCMA has been trying to target the “under 33” demographic. We wanted to grow this membership segment and needed to learn more—why do they join, how do they think… let’s do a focus group! Let’s not assume they all like Facebook, let’s talk to them.
timeline 2
Timeline (#2)
  • Set a date for the focus group
  • Select a date for the invite to go out
  • Give people a deadline for response
  • Set a date to respond to all volunteers
  • Make sure you have questions developed
  • Keep track of logistics (location, tent cards, etc.)
  • Pick a deadline for the report
slide7

Volunteer/Participant Management (#3)

  • You need three key players on the organizational side (using example of New Professionals)
  • These three people do not participate in the conversation at all.
  • Moderator (me)
  • Note-taker (Kerry)
  • Subject Matter Expert (Michael Wright)
slide8

Volunteer/Participant Management (#3)

  • Moderator (me)
    • Ask questions.
    • Watch time.
  • Note-taker (Kerry)

- Taking minutes, typing or writing most of what people say, names when possible

  • Subject Matter Expert (Michael Wright)

- Simply listening

slide9

Volunteer/Participant Management (#3)

  • Invite people to participate
    • Do not provide a lot of information about the focus group in the invitation email
    • Never give out the questions, people need to come in open-minded
    • Do not give details on location, only provide participants location (maybe just give date and time of day and general location, like “downtown”)
slide10

Volunteer/Participant Management (#3)

  • Select participants
    • Can ask for certain information (govtvs. industry), location, etc.
    • Create a balanced and diverse group for varied opinions, based on topic or objective
  • Email selected participants the details and confirmation. Provide an “onsite” contact.
  • Email volunteers you did not select a “thanks but we are full” message
    • Emailed questions AFTER focus group has been conducted (no sharing)
location and logistics 4
Location and Logistics (#4)
  • Make sure you have a location for 15 people (plus 3 volunteers) so 18 around a table
    • Quiet so you can hear everyone—office conference room works well, not a bar
  • Set the date, time, and location (1 hour is good)
  • Create a “script”, including the introduction and questions
    • Introduction explains why you are there, without leading them to one direction
    • Your roles, moderating. Moderator NEVER answers questions (Ex: Why are we here? How much is a new professionals membership?)
location and logistics 41
Location and Logistics (#4)
  • Questions: Open-ended, not simple yes/no
    • Encourage discussion
    • 5–7 questions available
  • Communicate if you are planning to feed people. Water is good at minimum
  • Bring tent cards with people’s names to help note-taker and make people comfortable
  • Thank-you notes or gifts (small) are nice
    • Trinkets work well or $5 gift cards if you can afford to
summary and report 5
Summary and Report (#5)
  • The note-taker will clean up notes and send to Moderator and SME
  • Together they can write full report and help each other fill in gaps where one might have heard something different
  • Present findings
questions for me
Questions for me?

 Me casually waiting for questions.