When many companies have an idea for a new product, they need to know how the product will be received by the market they hope to attract. Does it fulfill a need? Will people be interested in it? Will people be willing to purchase it? To determine if time and money should be put into the production of a product, research using focus groups is usually the initial step in the development of a product. There are several fundamental ways that companies perform market research. The highest ROI and certainty is achieved through research using focus groups.
Traditional Focus Groups and Selecting the Right Participants
Focus groups are an excellent way of gathering information for a new product idea. As found on The Balance Small Business, “What Is a Market Research Focus Group” by DeVault, G. (2018, March 12) explains that “a focus group is a gathering of deliberately selected people” who have agreed to participate in a review and discussion to “elicit consumer perceptions” regarding a product or idea.
Qualified participants are vital. Deliberately selecting your group participants assures you have people who would be interested in the particular product or idea that your company hopes to move into production. An example would be if your company had a prototype of a wearable device that measures hydration using biometrics. You would want to have your focus group made up of healthcare professionals and possibly professional, personal trainers.
Conversations are important. As the author relays, “focus groups have a distinct advantage over some other types of market research.” They offer more flexibility to the company by allowing an explanation of the product, and the opportunity to receive immediate feedback from their customers. Holding a series of focus groups with varying participants can help deter “environmental variables” as noted in the article.
Connected focus groups offer sound information. One more vital point DeVault makes is about the environment within the focus groups. When focus groups are comfortably engaged and get along, great feedback can be gathered. On the other hand, if the group doesn’t connect well with each other or with the moderator, the information collected may be quite skewed.
Technology Offers Additional Focus Group Platforms
When the traditional focus group is hard to gather a qualified group of people due to travel distance and meeting times, today’s technology offers additional options to collect your essential, product information. This is especially true for those people that have busy work schedules such as educators and healthcare personnel. Another industry that can be hard to gather individuals together is the gaming industry. People are positioned throughout the world, so assembling a qualified group together for a new gaming concept can be challenging.
Today’s technology offers additional options to gather your information without requiring your participants to travel or even be in a group setting.
Virtual technology has allowed people to come together from anywhere. In one of our previous blogs, we reviewed five advantages of having a virtual focus group.
- No geographic restrictions.
- A larger group of qualified participants.
- Participants can have anonymity.
- Real-time evaluations and reactions to virtual products.
- A quick and accurate turnaround of results and analysis.
Social media offers a more organic review of a product without the group setting flaws. For established companies who know their customer base, social media could be a great way to put together a focus group based on those customers having similar buying patterns.
- Participants can be chosen by your analytical data.
- Participants have the flexibility to look at the product at their leisure.
- Participants, who are your customers, feel valuable.
- New Perspectives – Empowering Your Business with Research Answers
Your ultimate goal is to gather enough information that will help your organization make its decision to continue with development, make modifications and hopefully move into production. The team at New Perspectives has the experience and expertise to design and implement the appropriate, quality focus group(s) that will provide your business with the vital information you need to determine if your product will be a profitable investment.
Contact New Perspectives for a more in-depth review of all of our research using focus groups that will help your company make the right decisions.