The scene is surely familiar to you: a group of people sitting around a table offering their point of view (opinion, assessment) on a particular product or service. Meanwhile, in the viewing room (and thanks to a multidirectional mirror or Calm Screen), another group of professionals gathers all this information: evaluations, opinions, gestures, body language, etc.

This is the basis of a focus group, a tool widely used in the framework of Research and Market Studies, whose objective is to bring the focus of attention to something specific that we want to observe (a product, service or brand) and to understand how the target evaluates it.

With new technology it’s no longer essential to have rooms with one-way mirrors (although they’re still frequently used). Streaming technology makes it possible for focus groups to be observed from hundreds or thousands of kilometers away by the company of the product or service for which it’s developed.

This way, through the focus group, the brand or market research agency will discover the target’s (sample) response to the product or service (regardless of whether it’s new or not). It’s the most natural and simple way to know in advance what its reaction will be and make the necessary adjustments or changes.

But, how should a focus group be planned so that the information we obtain is true and coincides with the response of the vast majority of our target?


Let’s analyze 5 key aspects to take into account when conducting a focus group:



1.- Select your target very well and define your objectives

Do you have a clear and well-defined target audience for your product or service? Then you know what your target is. It’s important to know our audience, the potential buyers of the product/service (or current ones we want to get feedback from). It’s essential to previously analyze some aspects such as the usefulness of the product/service, its price and the purchasing power of the person who will buy it, their age, gender, education, jobs related to the product/service, etc.

Defining the objectives of the focus group is just as important as selecting the target, i.e. the specific information we want to obtain through this tool and what it will be used for.



2.- Choose the right setting

If there’s one thing that guarantees the success of a focus group, it’s how it’s staged. It should be noted that each type of product/service might require a specific space with certain characteristics when it comes to conducting a focus group. Therefore, having rooms and spaces that provide us with maximum flexibility and customization is essential.

Comfort, tranquility, reliability, natural light… are all paramount when it comes to choosing a room for a focus group, and it must have everything necessary for testing the product or service in question (kitchen-laboratory for organoleptic tests), kitchenware and any product needed for testing, Internet connection, etc.).

Only by creating a positive and inspiring environment, an informal atmosphere, will we achieve objective and effective participation of the sample.


3.- Participants and the time period

Is there an appropriate number of participants and a recommended time period for a focus group? The truth is that every case, every technique and every specific event is unique. We can’t really specify a recommended length of time. In some cases, it will only last a few hours. In others, entire workdays may be needed. In general, we do know that at least 2 hours are required, the minimum amount of the time necessary for everyone to participate and create an environment (known as rapport) where they can feel comfortable and secure, ready to share their opinions and experiences with others. This, however, is something that will vary in each case. It’s about “breaking the ice” and creating a pleasant and participatory atmosphere.

And what about when it comes to choosing the number of participants? Is there a recommended number of participants? Again, we cannot generalize; it will depend on the product or service we’re analyzing, the techniques we’re using, etc.


4.- The figure of the moderator: essential

Having a moderator to guide the dynamics of the focus group is essential. He or she must have leadership skills and an ability to speak in public. He or she will be in charge of creating a climate of trust and security among the participants right from the beginning. With his/her questions and dynamics, he/she will be the one to break the ice and facilitate the task. He/she will guide the conversation while covering the most important topics of the Market Research, thereby revealing our target audience’s assessment – which is absolutely fundamental.

In addition, the moderator will be in charge of controlling time and not wasting it on general topics. This includes refocusing on the topic if things go off subject. He or she must be clear and direct in their questions, and should never lose sight of the objective: to gather the maximum amount of data for the study, and always in an objective and impartial manner.

For this purpose, it’s highly recommended to prepare what’s known as a discussion guide that includes the structure of how the entire conversation will develop, and possible guidelines and resources that the moderator can use at any time if the planned objectives are not being reached.


5.- Follow-up analysis of the data

A focus group doesn’t end on that same day. The subsequent analysis of all the data, answers, gestures, etc. of the participants must be thorough and precise.

Some reaction may have been overlooked which, at first, we don’t consider to be very significant, but which may reveal something important or interesting to take into account. The moderator will be in charge of collecting all of this insight generated in the focus group. Therefore, our advice is to always record it on video for later analysis by the team in question.

This would include, in summary, the key aspects to take into account when designing and setting up a focus group. At present, they can be face-to-face, online or interactive. In any case, it’s essential to design and conduct it in an objective and professional manner (by both the participants and the moderator), and in a space or room specifically prepared for the focus group, with the maximum possible customization of the event.

Are you going to organize your next focus group and need a new space? Are you also looking for a company that will be in charge of screening and selecting participants for the study? Contact us without any obligation and we will inform you of all the possibilities and new features we can offer you.





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