What is the perception and reputation of your brand? What motivates people to seek you out for care? How does your brand compare to your competitors? What do the people you serve need from you? What is your marketing doing right? What is it doing wrong? What changes do you need to make? A good focus group is one way to find the answer to these questions and more.
For the most part, we humans are social beings by nature. We like to feel connected, to share strong emotions and stories. Focus groups—those that are well planned and expertly run—use the “social experience” to create an environment that enables people to open up, express their views and provide you with answers you need.
Done right focus groups can be a powerful tool for:
- providing amazing insight into the thoughts and feelings of the people in your market
- exploring needs
- revealing decision processes and influences
- allowing you to observe facial expressions and body language, as well as hear social cues and straightforward comments from participants
- inspiring the spark of a successful campaign
Focus groups are about exploration and guidance
This is not the type of research that seeks to control, predict or provide definitive answers. Focus groups provide understanding and high-level feedback that helps when making strategic decisions. It’s important to remember this is not quantitative research—the low number of participants, the speculation participants make during sessions and the influence the opinions of a few strong participants can have on others can skew findings.
Fuel for innovation
Focus groups are a great laboratory for discovering the best approach to persuade, to teach and to communicate. Used correctly they can lead to original, innovative marketing that produces significant changes in actions, attitudes and behaviors.