Focus groups conducting group discussions with consumers of various products or services

Focus groups are qualitative types of marketing research and are a popular and flexible way to collect data through moderated discussions with groups of respondents.

Such an approach makes it possible to obtain a detailed vision of the research subject, and its positive and negative sides in the eyes of interviewed independent respondents, launching a mechanism of knowledge generation about the research object.

Not seldom focus groups are a part of complex research, but often they serve as an independent method of data collection. It allows you to test your intuition and make hypotheses concerning your products/services, focusing directly on the consumer. The results of focus group discussions (FGDs) can both confirm and refute assumptions. Conducting focus groups saves time and financial expenses for the company, allowing it to efficiently refine the product or marketing communications, to focus on facts, not assumptions.

Unlike in-depth interviews, which are conducted individually, FG allows respondents to interact and influence each other as they discuss and consider ideas, collectively reflecting on social and consumer themes. Regardless of the size of the focus group, the results will always be unique to any new product or service. FG invites respondents who have not previously participated in such research and are unfamiliar with each other.

How to conduct a focus group

8 respondents are invited to focus groups (possible number of respondents – from 6 to 10 persons to form expert groups for collecting data on products or concepts) in a specialized room, equipped with a glass of one-sided transparency (so-called “focus room”).

The agency’s tasks include ensuring a quorum for the number of respondents present. The whole trick is to invite “spare” participants (the standard for the industry is ~30% “spare”).

The discussion is led by an experienced moderator (our company’s analyst), who asks participants questions and topics for discussion. These topics can vary greatly between different FGDs, even within the same study. The standard length of an FGD is 2 hours.

Important aspects of focus groups:

  • Participants should not feel pressure to have a natural conversation, the focus group moderator allows each respondent to express him/herself;
  • The success of FGs largely depends on the moderator’s personality, his experience in interacting with the audience, and his skills in making people engage in the conversation;
  • In FGs, the task of the moderator is not to allow the most active participants to suppress the more reserved respondents, to avoid the appearance of a dominating opinion, distorting group perception;
  • The FGs moderator deepens the respondents’ answers by guiding questions, allowing them to form and verbalize the explanations of the actions that majority of consumers do on the unconscious level (“on automatic”);
  • Even non-verbal reactions of respondents in the focus group are often taken into account when conducting analytics.

Benefits of conducting focus groups with Smart City Enterprise

  • Qualitative respondent recruitment – the in-house recruitment department allows to find of respondents even for the most complex target audience, as well as excludes the participation of professional respondents. The selection process takes place in several stages, the respondents are carefully selected for each specific study;
  • Experienced moderators (with more than 200 focus group experiences), capable of conducting a dynamic and spontaneous conversation with a group of any size and any degree of involvement;
  • Possibility to conduct focus groups in all European Union millionaires cities, as well as in many cities with a population of up to 1 million people (for the list of available cities please contact your manager).