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The Power of Focus Groups

Circle of Seven Chairs

Getting 12 people into a room, any room, usually provides the opportunity for individuals to share their feelings about a topic or situation. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a meeting, a family gathering or even a focus group.

If you have ever experienced an intervention, you know the power of a group with a vested interest.

When it comes to focus groups, I feel the same way. Kinda…

It’s because I and our clients hear things we may have never heard before. We look at things through the eyes of others. The power of important stakeholders is right there on the other side of the one-way glass. Wow.

For the price of a one-page ad in a trade journal, you can learn a lot about your company, your product, your competitors and your customer. More than you could ever imagine. Consider these actual outcomes:

– For a healthcare system, we learned that patients would prefer to go to a local community hospital rather than go downtown to the main campus of a major network.

– For a manufacturer, we learned that their product would sell better with a few design changes.

– For a new franchise, we learned that the ad copy points worked, but the graphic treatment needed some changes.

– For an energy company, we learned that consumers had great ideas on ways to communicate to them—and when.

– For a non-profit, we learned how to get major donors to give more.

Often, a focus group will indicate whether more research is needed, how to frame the questions for a survey or which job titles need to weigh in.

Focus groups aren’t for everyone, but you always walk away with more information than you expected when the lights go out in the conference room. The video of a focus group meeting also becomes a great reference as you move forward with your marketing, product or business decisions.

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