Really short focus groups

12Apr07

I had read this bit on adrants a while ago… Focus Group Company Promotes Services With Cheap Focus GroupsFor all you Boston area ad agencies that want to put your work in front of focus groups on the cheap, Bernett Research is offering a 20-30 minute focus group for $1,000.

At first glance, my reaction was – what??! focus groups lasting for 20 minutes? I book-marked it ayway to think about it. And now I feel, why not? Why do focus groups have to last for more than an hour, sometimes even two? There are two reasons I can think of why this happens:

There is so much nice-to-know-but-utterly-useless (especially in the context of that research question) that we all end up collecting during focus groups. Often, much of this passes off as background information, which ideally ought to be used in the overall analysis of the data on the specific research question – but rarely does. I submit that there is just no need to spend precious minutes going through “setting-the-contex” information – particularly in cases where there has been ample work done on the product category or even the brand – and with the same profile of consumers. And here is the contentious bit – how often have we (market researchers) all had clients adding on questions to “throw in” to group – since we are spending so much money anyway – and found ourselves doing just that – throwing in quesions – what do you think of the variant? have you seen this ad? Sure, it doesn’t hurt, but it doesn’t add avlue to the central issue either.

And the second reason being the time taken in the beginning to set the stage – introductions and warm up, putting respondents at ease, in short, going through the ropes. Which brings me to the issue of professional – or at the very least, regular – respondents. People who have been chosen on the basis of specifc requirements, are willing to contribute their time and thoughts when required, and most importantly, understand the research process. Respondents who work with the researcher in providing insights and not for the researcher, as we like to understand the status quo.

Think about it – a group of aware, informed people meeting regularly to discuss a specific question or problem with an aim to generating insights or even possible solutions at the end of it. Thirty minutes is all it takes, I am sure.

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One Response to “Really short focus groups”

  1. 1 D

    Sounds really good to finish of the group in 30 minutes coupled with what you say in the end (Respondents who work with the researcher). Well in some cases they any way do??WQhat I am referring to is the problem of Repeats. Has its pros and cons with the latter stronger.

    Most times typically the clients also push for contextual info. just to get the thoght process aligned before jumping onto the crux.



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