Focus groups get people to interact with your product, idea or solution and ultimately provide qualitative data and new thinking from your target audience. Great marketers know the importance of focus group, but this experience can get swept under the rug due to fear of cost and/or time commitment concerns.

Today, smaller corporations move at the speed of light but with decreased budgets and less time to do more work in more channels than ever before. The processes of Fortune 500 companies are irrelevant to smaller brands who often don't have the perceived "luxury" of conducting focus groups for even landmark products or offerings. But focus groups aren't luxury items. They're critical to your business. The bottom line is that some insights are better than none, especially when you're investing marketing dollars into content creation, events, or product development. Here are some tips for creating a focus group and getting results in a short period of time.

  1. Work with nimble, strategic agencies who can pull together groups quickly and then provide qualitative feedback within a short period of time.  
  2. Get hands on. You've been working with your brand long enough that with just a few comms, you'd be able to assemble an awesome focus group that's ready to open up to you. 
  3. Validate your questions with your peers before beginning. Nothing helps to cover the bases like involving others at the top end to give additional perspectives.
  4. Be honest & demand full honesty. You have everything to lose. When we are not fully open we lose the ability to guide our brand genuinely. Complete honesty is a great way to add value.
  5. Get out of the office.  Don't hold focus groups in stuffy places where the environment is too sterile (unless of course it absolutely needs to be). If your focus groups are more conversational and open your audience will feel relaxed and more inclined to participate. Locations: Parks, brunch, beach, quieter coffee shops. 
  6. If possible, commit to devoting two days with two separate audiences. That way you can test and validate your assumptions from the first day. It may even help you to prove your hypothesis.
  7. Tap into emotion. The great thing about focus groups is that they are PEOPLE with real emotions, problems and lives. TAP INTO THAT. THIS IS WHERE THE STORIES/CONTEXT/FEELINGS ARE. 
  8. Build brand affinity by thanking your audience (with a gift). Even though it may have been done on the cheap, make sure to thank them with some cool items, a gift certificate, or a handwritten note. Little things matter. 

You don't need to be in the dark when it comes to building focus groups. We'd love to share our insights with you on building focus groups that will have a great impact on your project or product. We've done this for some of our largest and our smaller clients. We're always happy to chat! Keep it FRESH. 

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