A focus group is made up of selected individuals, selected by their marketing demographic, who participate in a guided or open discussion. These groups offer companies an effective method of qualitative marketing research that allows them to gather opinions and feelings towards a new product - ensuring it appeals to the target market. The discussion is typically headed by a company representative, has a duration of 30-60 minutes, and usually contains 3-15 members. Focus groups have some pros and cons:
Focus Group Pros
- Detailed data:
Because focus groups involve a small number of people, researchers can gather detailed data from participants by asking specific questions and getting in-depth responses. Researchers can also study facial expressions and tone of voice, to gauge emotional responses about a product from the target demographic. In general, focus groups can provide in-depth qualitative data that cannot be extracted using other research methods such as surveys.
- Require less time than interviews:
Compared to an interview, which is conducted one person at a time, focus groups usually contain up to 15 participants and run for the same duration, meaning they are far more efficient. If a company conducts a 15-member focus group, it will obtain 15 times more information than during an interview - leading to more qualitative data feedback in regards to time spent.
Cons of Focus Groups
- Lower sample size:
While it's true that focus groups provide a company with valuable qualitative data, a major disadvantage is the small sample size when compared to other methods like surveys, which can reach thousands of people in one swoop, providing companies with more data. There's far less detail but way more data to crunch when it comes to surveys.