Are you usingĀ using focus groups in product development? Developing new products is a challenging and risky endeavor. No matter how good your project seems in theory, it’s never easy to predict how actual customers will react to the finished product. One of the best ways to mitigate the risk is to use focus groups, people who try and test your product and give you their honest opinion about it. Why this is such an essential strategy for anyone releasing a new product?

New Product Focus Groups In Product Development

Save Money on Market Research

Focus groups give you the chance to interview multiple participants at once, which is more efficient than conducting individual interviews. This lets you accumulate feedback more quickly than you could by talking to people one-on-one. Since you can draw people from your target market, you’re getting accurate and cost-effective feedback about your product. In the past, getting together a focus group required participants to travel to a common location. With today’s technology, you can conduct virtual focus groups where the participants don’t have to be in the same location. This makes it even cheaper and more convenient to conduct focus group sessions.

Conduct Qualitative Research

Many types of market research such as studying data and reviewing simple surveys are quantitative in nature. For example, you may find that 75% of your target audience has a particular problem or prefers a certain feature. This type of information is quite valuable. However, it’s also important to conduct qualitative research, which is harder to get from studying data.

Focus groups go beyond collecting data and let you actually talk to people and pick up nuances. You can look at their overall reactions, including tone of voice and body language. If people seem positive about a product but point out certain flaws, you can go back to the drawing board to make changes. In some cases, participants may even suggest specific improvement you can implement. On the other hand, if you sense that people have little interest or enthusiasm in the fundamental idea, you will need to make more fundamental changes or perhaps reconsider.

Quantitative data is useful for learning about demographics and getting a broad, big picture idea of how people feel about something. A survey may tell you that people rate a product 7 on a scale from 1 to 10. This type of data, however, can be greatly enhanced by the kind of qualitative research you get with focus groups. You have the chance to dig deeper, get specific and ask for clarification. When someone comments, you can pose follow-up questions. For example, if someone doesn’t like something, you can ask why and what features might make the product more appealing. This type of feedback is essential when developing a product as it helps you get a more precise idea of what your customers want.

Benefits of an Interactive Environment

A focus group is more than just multiple people giving you their thoughts. It is also an interactive process where participants discuss and debate the merits of an idea or product. There are certain benefits to group discussions that bring up issues that may not come up when talking to people individually. On the one hand, whoever is running a focus group has to keep the conversation on track and avoid too many digressions. On the other hand, the interaction can be dynamic and lead to brainstorming, and valuable insights as members of the group throw ideas back and forth.

These are some of the reasons that so many companies use focus groups when developing new products. An excellent example of how focus groups play an essential role in the product development process can be seen on shows such as Invent it Rich and American Makers, where engineers implement the ideas of entrepreneurs and inventors. These programs regularly use focus groups to test products. Any company that wants to gain valuable insights into their customers’ needs and preferences.

New Perspectives is a full-service research consulting firm that uses focus groups in product development to help you understand your customers. To learn more, contact Marketing Research Consulting from New Perspectives.