There are two disciplines of market research: Quantitative (numerical) and Qualitative (emotions). Observation Baltimore specializes in supporting Qualitative research. One of the main methods of conducting Qualitative research is to hold Focus Groups.
A Focus Group is a moderated group listening session among a target audience of prospects or customers, typically segmented by purchasing habits or psychographics, with an intent of learning about a specific subject. Focus Groups can be utilized for almost anything: from figuring out new flavors for your favorite potato chip brand, to understanding how your brand is viewed compared to your competition.
Focus Groups are a pivotal tool in determining how you should direct your business and create success; but only if you sincerely listen. Every research endeavor includes its own unique goal and its own unique method of reaching that goal. Conducting market research can guarantee success and informed decision-making.
Each Focus Group offers the ability to better your business practices by allowing you to see unique perspectives from those who you should be listening to the most: your customers.
But what exactly does conducting Qualitative Research offer for you?
“Bias” is a word used often with negative connotations. We all have biases, good or bad, like it or not. From the products we purchase to the sports teams for which we root, biases form preferences that are present in every aspect of our lives, including business.
It is important to remain objective when conducting research. You may see your company or product in a completely different light than your consumers. Conducting research using Focus Groups allows you to hear feedback from an objective, outside perspective, from someone that is not vested in your company and unaware of the research goals.
Rolling out a new product, name, or process can be an extremely risky and costly process. To mitigate risk and assess the practicality of a new endeavor, research should be the first step in your process. Listening to your consumers before making a business decision can assist your team in finetuning your product or service, understanding the landscape, or prevent your team from wasting time and energy on an effort that might fall flat.
Understanding Your Competition:
One of the most important things you can gain from exploring consumer behavior is the answer to two simple questions: Are they buying from your competition? If so, why do they buy from your competition instead of you?
Focus Groups are a crucial tool to learn about your business practices, but also to learn about tools your competition uses and how you can do better. Learning where your competition falls short allows you to double down on your own competitive advantages and address unmet consumer needs.
The best ideas are built or improved by customers who utilize the product or service. Ideas are best originated from stimulus. Stimulus could be concept statements, items that are used with the product, or existing products in the category. With consent forms in place, you can use the ideas mentioned during your Focus Group as the building blocks of the tower that is your next huge success. Focusing on the needs of your customers allows you to tailor your business efforts to better suit them.
Develop Relevant Marketing Tactics:
Not all marketing is created equal and before dumping this quarter’s marketing budget on the biggest billboard on I-95, take some time to understand what marketing mediums work best for your product or service. Conducting Focus Groups with your customers and prospects will provide you with precious insights about their buying process and decision making. The greater you understand what drives customers or potential customers to making a purchase, the more effective your marketing efforts will be. Marketing insights inform concrete impressions and establish your brand as the customer’s choice.