Focus groups assemble several people who are current customers or members of a target market to give their opinions about current or planned products, advertising campaigns and more.
One staple of market research is the focus group. Focus groups assemble several people who are current customers or members of a target market to give their opinions about current or planned products, advertising campaigns and more.
One way to conduct a do-it-yourself focus group is to create a customer advisory board. Ask a few of your customers if they would like to participate in giving their opinions of your business and how it could be better. Or ask them to evaluate products you are considering to see how they can best meet customer needs.
To encourage the most honest responses, it might be best to have a third party conduct the research. After all, your customers probably like you and wouldn’t want to tell you that they hate your new product idea. They might be more open to sharing their misgivings with a more neutral person. Who do you know who could facilitate a discussion and get your customers to open up?
Most focus groups pay participants for their opinions. You may wish to reward the customers who assist you with a cash payment, or you may give them a free product or a discount on a future order. Most people are so happy to be asked for their opinions, and to know that they will be listened to, that a payment may not be necessary.
Be prepared to hear some things that will surprise you. Don’t discard the results if they show something other than what you expected. After all, the reason you do research is to learn the truth. Can you handle the truth?