Focus Groups Can Provide a Strategy Edge

August 8, 2012

  • How can we get people to buy our product or service?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of our product or service compared to our competitors?
  • Could our marketing materials be more effective in message or design?
  • What is the perception of our business in the community?
  • What are ex-customers saying about us?

These are just some of the questions that can be answered with focus group testing. Focus groups typically include multiple small groups of participants (usually six to eight) and are designed to elicit responses relative to consumer impressions of proposed, new or re-launched products or services.

These groups are facilitated by a moderator who asks pre-developed questions to draw out participant responses and encourage candid discussion. Conversation spearheaded by a skilled moderator can glean information and stimulate new ideas that are hard to come by otherwise.

Are you curious how your front desk or customer service staff interacts with patients or customers when you aren’t there? Or do you wonder what the customer service experience is like at a competing office or store? Nancy Ulrich, president of Concepts in Focus, a top-rated Northeast Florida research facility in Orange Park, suggests that a mystery shopper or shop-along program may be what you need to determine how you stack up against your competition.

If you are interested in the answer to any of these questions about your own product or service, then maybe it’s time you consider allocating part of your marketing budget to research that can truly provide you with answers to what’s working — and what isn’t.


Jan Hirabayashi founded BroadBased in 1996 and is the company's CEO and lead marketing strategist.