Marketers typically live and work in places that do not represent the “average” consumer. It’s no wonder one of the biggest mistakes marketers can make is assuming our own motivations mirror those of the people who buy our products and services.
This book is for anyone who wants to understand how to conduct focus group research to make better consumer-informed business decisions. Understanding consumers’ perspectives will ultimately help marketers and other business leaders excel in their own careers by allowing them to create products, services and messages that best meet consumers’ needs and desires.
Many new brand managers, and other business people outside of the marketing function, are given the responsibility of “doing focus groups” without much training on how best to do it. Reading this book will prepare you to approach your next focus group project confident you are well informed.
Meant to be a quick read, this book is intended to feel more like satisfying a curiosity than studying for an exam.
In Part One, the book explains and gives pros and cons of several research methodologies and the best applications for each. I will give a broad overview of the two main types of market research, quantitative and qualitative. Then we will delve into specific qualitative methodologies and, finally, move into the meat of the book on how to conduct successful focus groups.
Part Two contains The Brand Marketer’s Guide to the 5 Stages of Focus Group Research. The process provided in this book for managing a focus group project can be applied more broadly to many qualitative research methodologies.
The 5 Stages of Focus Group Research are:
- Write the Research Brief
- Recruit the Participants
- Develop the Discussion Guide and Stimuli
- Conduct the Research
- Analyze and Share the Research Results
Having lived both sides, I hope this book will help build a stronger connection between the marketing and market research functions. Focus groups are one form of qualitative market research. Market research overall exists to mitigate business risk and maximize business potential by cultivating understanding of what motivates the end users of products and services. In the end, it’s all about selling more stuff, but it’s doing it by providing what the consumer needs or desires when and where they want it, not by “pushing” more stuff at them.
Whether you are doing a focus group study yourself or working with a qualitative research supplier, understanding the five stages of managing a focus group project will help make your research more effective, more efficient, and more actionable for your business. Over time, this will lead to more sales and ultimately more success in your marketing career.