What is a Focus Group?

qualitative market research

Have you ever seen an advertisement in the newspaper or online that invited you to share your opinion on a particular product or service? These ads are usually aimed at gathering people with similar interests together to participate in a qualitative market research technique called a focus group.

Organizations both small and large use focus groups as a way to gain insight and better understand their target market demographic. In other words, they want to get to know more about you, your likes, dislikes, and thoughts about their product or service. Organizations like this information because it’s more than just faceless numbers on a data chart. Focus groups allow businesses to get to know their consumers on a more personal basis and focus on not only what they’re saying, but how they’re saying it.

Let’s say you really like a certain caramel colored soft drink. The soft drink company is considering changing the recipe to their drink, and wants to know how their consumers would react to this change. Would they like it better than the old recipe? Would they like new packaging, new branding? Would they be turned off by an increase in price? The company has a lot of questions that it needs answers to before it goes ahead with the new recipe. Qualitative market research allows the company to get the answers to these questions. There’s a lot of hard, numerical data involved in market research, but the company needs to perform qualitative market research as well. One way to get this data is from a focus group.

Here’s how the focus group process works. The company tells Observation Baltimore they want to talk to people between the ages of 18 and 24 who live in Baltimore and drink their soda five times a week. We put out an ad for people who fit this description to come participate in a focus group. You respond, and the company decides it wants to hear what you have to say. You, along with say 10 other soda drinkers, meet up at Observation Baltimore’s facility, which hosts focus groups. There the group speaks with a third party moderator, who’s only there to guide the conversation along about the soda, how they like the current recipe, if they would be interested in a new recipe, etc. Market researchers from the company observe this conversation, sometimes in person, and sometimes via a recorded video. They use the responses of the group as part of their qualitative market research. The whole process lasts about an hour or two. Once the conversation is over, the participants are paid in cash and the focus group is complete.

So why should you participate in a focus group? Well, there’s the pay, that’s for sure. But focus groups are also a great way to get your voice heard about a product or service. Organizations want to know how they can improve the relationship with their consumers, and a focus group gives you the opportunity to say how you think a product or service could be improved. If you’re in Baltimore and focus groups sound like something you’re interested in, here’s how you can participate:

  • Join our mailing list by signing up at www.observationbaltimore.com/getpaid
  • Like us on Facebook – we post select studies on Facebook with assigned call-in numbers – at www.facebook.com/observationbaltimore
  • Call us at 410-332-0400 for more info.
  • Email us at info@obaltimore.com for more info or to connect.

Observation Baltimore has been serving the Baltimore market research industry for two decades. We are one of the top Maryland Market Research Facilities, rated “One of the World’s Best,” by Impulse Survey. Our experienced recruiting is the foundation of our mission, as well as courteous and proactive hospitality and client services. Our environmentally kind facility and practices are a testament to our character, and most importantly: We understand Baltimore market research!

Learn more about the research facility Observation Baltimore: call us at 410-332-0400 or click here! If you’d like to participate in one of our focus groups, sign up at www.observationbaltimore.com/getpaid.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 16th, 2013 at 6:07 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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