Focus group interviews were originally created for the listeners to evaluate the post-world war II radio programmes in Great Britain. Nowadays, focus groups are used to gather impressions, feelings and information from a selected sample group towards a product or service. Focus group are currently not very widespread in France compared to English-speaking countries such as the United States or England.
Since it is a qualitative research method based on exploration and introspection within a sample group, organizing a focus group requires a good survey methodology.
How do your potential consumers see and consider your product or service ? Why do they provide a good or bad opinion about it ? In what situation could they use it or ask for it ?
The focus group methodology is actually far more eloquent than figures and statistics. Thus, what are the main interests of organizing a focus group discussion for your marketing study ?
Analyzing and understanding a potential consumer’s behavior
Using the Focus group method enables to break down and analyze the participants opinions in order to understand the impact of a product or a service on their everyday life and habits. The idea is to catch a sample from the initial core target.
As a consequence, the focus group discussion involves a behavioral and psychological analysis of the potential consumers. The main interest of such a method is to make the participants interact with the product or service and stimulate their opinion about it.
Comparing and clarify hypotheses
Furthermore, the idea is to put previous statements to the test. The product or service was indeed made for something particular but a participant can totally question its usefulness. An opposite opinion is the opportunity to draw new issues. Then, organizing a focus group discussion enables to analyze and compare information.
In this way, you can confirm your previous assertions (or not) and draw some new ones. The questioning method must be evolutive and built for and with the participants.
Drawing different types of consumers
Organizing a focus group discussion also enables you to draw different position statements and different points of view from the participants. Keep in mind that even if the participants have a lot in common in their behavior and attitude, they are actually very different from each other. Here is another interest of the focus group.
The main aim is not to educate and standardize the way of thinking of your participants but to highlight what makes them unique. For instance, two of them can be tea lovers but have different ways to drink eat (loose tea, tea bags, etc)
After that, you are now able to determine different perceptions and motivations towards the product or service and distinguish different types of consumers.
In the end, organizing and leading a focus group discussion seems to be a crucial step before implementing a marketing strategy.
Nevertheless, do not forget that it cannot sum up the behavior and the motivations of your entire target. A focus group discussion enables you to prepare a quantitative analysis. Moreover, it gives new clues to re-adapt your product or service to your target.