What is a Focus Group and How is it Work?


The focus group is a strategy that is being carried out very often in the business world. Thanks to the participation of those involved, companies can know how their products work and what is the opinion of them.

These are organized when a problem has been declared before a service and the opinion of consumers is required for its reevaluation, its withdrawal from the market or possible improvements in sales strategies.

It is an essential tool in the world of marketing and any business that wants to prosper must take it into account to better understand its target and its needs.

In this article, we will talk more in-depth about this topic. The purpose of this is to know what the function of a focus group really is, how they should be organized and what are advantages they bring for the development and positioning of a company.

What are the focus groups?

In a period of one or two hours, a group of between 3 and 12 participants and a moderator meet. The number of users varies according to the type of topic to be covered, as well as the estimated time. At all times, the content will be recorded on video to be able to be analyzed later.

The main idea is for the person leading the focus group to ask a series of questions and be observant of the conversation that takes place. This figure is really important because, on many occasions, due to a majority opinion of the users, the results could be contaminated or with coerced responses.

In this case, the moderator must intervene and redirect the debate to the initial moment of the question or move on to another question. Normally, this qualitative research technique is widely used in marketing, as it brings great results in sales.

For a focus group to be carried out correctly, the participants must not previously know each other and have had to be chosen after a study on product consumption or interaction with a service. 

All this will take place in a relaxed and pleasant atmosphere. This is not a competition or debate in which there must be a winner. People who meet should talk about their experiences, doubts and concerns.

The origin of calling for this measure is having encountered a problem with a service or product and wanting to find out personally what it was, and what better way to talk about it with consumers?

How should they develop?

In order for such a group to develop favorably, a lot of work must be done prior to its organization. Choosing who the participants will be is not as simple as it seems, for example.

It is important to ask yourself two questions before holding the meeting:

– Who will be the target?

Once the product that is going to be discussed is known, it is necessary to look for subjects who are active consumers and who are not excluded.

The idea of ​​a focus group is not to open a conversation to any type of user so that the differences between them can be understood and why for some it is attractive and for others it is not.

The purpose is to know the usefulness of the service or the purchase made, how it has improved their lives, what are the elements that could improve it, when it is most useful, etc.

All this leads to the selection of people who are in a small group where issues such as geographyage, purchasing power and even gender can be key to finding the perfect target.

It is important to know that this technique should not be applied as a strategy to obtain information that allows a product to be marketed. It is a tool for collecting data from users and experts who have chosen service over the competition.

– How is the counselor chosen?

Not all or all have the facility to be in charge of a group of people and direct them. The profile of this element is very important. For example, even if your presence is not very active, your responsibility is undeniable and, perhaps, an outgoing person is a good option.

This figure will ensure that everyone is in an optimal environment, wanting to break the ice. It must transmit confidence and security to the rest.

On the other hand, it is very important that you get to know the company and know what the needs of the target customer are. Nothing should sound unfamiliar to you, and even if you don’t respond, you should have your own opinion on all the questions that arise.

Knowing marketing  is important. This will allow you to identify when is a good time to intervene in the conversation in case you are obtaining flawed data or unrelated to the question posed.

Once you have these points settled and the marketing plan that will be used to carry out the group, it is time to start.

– The problem arises

Once it is identified that something is failing in the market with a specific product or service, it is time to consider organizing a focus group.

– Choose the participants and the counselor

You already know what the objectives of electing each of these two parts of the meeting are. Depending on the estimated time and the topic to be covered, a specific number will be selected.

Afterwards, there is the possibility that some qualified members participate as observers in the interaction of the participants. In this way, data collection will be easier, as well as the possibility of proposing new techniques and strategies.

– Organize questions, interventions and possible dialogue

The counselor must start from the objective points that they want to deal with in order to see different strategies in the event that he has to improvise or intervene more than indicated. Also, this is necessary to fix the questions you want to ask yourself.

When the participants have arrived, they need to know the information: how they can participate and intervene, the problem they have encountered, their experiences, etc.

It is a question-and-answer scheme that can be extended without any problem, as long as the logic and clarity of all the arguments to be used are maintained.

The open questions will also be used so that everyone can contribute their grain of sand, generating more results.

– Record the meeting and start collecting the data

These meetings will be recorded so that the team can then meticulously study what has happened and what are the objectives and issues that have been clarified.

In this way, you can analyze the results and improve or change the approach that a product has in the market.

Advantages as a market research technique

Knowing the opinion of potential customers is very important to improve as a company. At the end of the day, everything becomes a dialogue when they are choosing a specific service.

There is a why and a consumer benefit that businesses need to know in order to work harder on them.

  1. It offers quality information: Oftentimes, clients have information that experts do not know, even if the operations of the market are previously studied. Thanks to the creation of a pleasant space where external statements are accepted and valued, they will feel in an environment of trust, valued and will express themselves with great honesty.
  2. Improve market strategies: Once consumer opinions are known, companies receive very valuable information that can allow them to reconfigure their strategies. In this way, they will get a broader and updated marketing plan when it comes to launching new products or services.
  3. Greater knowledge of the customer’s profile: It will also be discovered more clearly what the consumer wants. This is an aspect of great value because it can greatly improve the different services of a business. In this way, it will be possible to discover the needs of customers that have been overlooked in the first research studies.
  4. Reinforcement of the personal brand: Brand and visibility is key for customers to choose one product or another. It’s not about being flashy, but about building trust and attraction in equal measure. Thanks to these groups, it is possible to discover if the branding strategies or the display of the logo is outdated or can be annoying or confusing for the public.
  5. Corroborate previous information: Many times, the problem has been visualized and a strategy to work it has already begun. However, you want to resort to an external opinion to verify it.

Focus group: quality analysis

Now that more is known about the operation of focus groups, it can be said that it is a completely necessary tool for the proper functioning and proper evolution of a business.