Focus Groups

In this post, I am going to talk about a video I recently watched called “How to moderate a focus group”. A focus group is basically a demographically diverse group of people assembled to participate in a guided discussion about a particular product or service. So we can say that focus groups is a great way to get to know what our clients think about our product or service. This way companies are able to detect possible areas that need changes or improvements for the company to succeed.

The first step to create a focus group would be to identify the relevant participants for the focus group, to recruit the participants to come, arrange the logistics and developed the questions that the moderator is going to ask to the participants. Once all this has been done we can start with the Focus Group. It is important to have the room set up before everybody arrives (having their sits assigned, cameras and microphones ready and even some food and drinks for the participants). During the Focus Group, the moderator has the most important role. He is not only the one making the questions, he also needs to know how to make people who don’t talk a lot to get involved with the debate, and people who talk too much to make it shorter.

Once all the question have been asked, the next step is to conclude the focus group. We do it asking the participants what were the most important things that we talked about during the focus group. The moderator can also ask to the assistant if there is anything he/she thinks is one of the important points that they may need to discuss it in more detail. From this point on, we can consider the Focus Group to be over. Now is time for us to do the analisis and prepare the report for the focus group.

Some of the tips he provided to get ready for a focus group are to feel comfortable to each other and comfortable talking about it. It is essential to arrive early to make sure that everything is in place, get yourself mentally prepared focus on the experience and think about the kind of things that are going to take place, prove and ask for additional information and finally enjoy yourself with this experience. Some of the techniques que likes to use like “pause” to help everyone getting comfortable. Another one is the use of lists ( in this case he passed a card to every participant, than the moderator writes downs a large list with all the items, with this he can identify the most important ones), rating sheets (Writing words in a piece of paper is a quick way to get rapid feedback from the participants and the Thumps up or not. Another technique he mentioned is the Projection (identifying the company with an animal and explaining why).

Overall I think that the Focus group is a great way to get to know what your clients think about your company or product. It is very direct and people are usually honest about it. So I would say that a company can get a lot of meaningful information out of a focus group, but I wouldn’t relay only on that. I would use a Focus group as a complement, because the amount of information that you are going to get is going to be very limited. On the other hand if you do an online survey, you might get the same answers you are looking for but from a lot more people. And here is when we have to decide between quality over quantity. I do believe that the some of the outcomes that you are going to get in a focus group, you can’t get them through an online survey.


Ferran Berga