Market research is the key to unlocking the behavior and decisions that drive consumer interest in a brand or product. The methods that companies use to conduct this research varies depending on what they are hoping to learn and why. Focus groups are one of many options for observing behaviors and preferences, but they are not always the best solution. Read below for our professional facilitators’ tips on when you should and should not utilize focus groups to develop your business or improve workplace productivity.

Why Focus Groups Are Useful

Focus groups are a relatively low-cost, interactive way to gather important feedback from target users. They are ideal starting points for further research as they identify issues and offer insight on additional areas of “uncharted territory” in terms of user behavior.

Groups often discover and offer insight into a “shared language” about a topic that marketers can capitalize on in future branding efforts. They tend to be more natural and interactive than one-on-one interviews, and they fuel innovation due to the multiple perspectives among members.

When They Are Useful

Focus groups are particularly useful in the earliest stages of research because they lend guidance to more targeted areas of study. They are also particularly useful in the workplace since coworkers often see similar opportunities for improvement or share concerns, and group settings offer validation and even encouragement among members.

When They Aren’t Useful

Focus groups have some drawbacks and should, therefore, be used in only the most appropriate circumstances under proper guidance. Any group setting can lead to “groupthink,” and there is also a lack of anonymity, which might influence responses about potentially intrusive questions. More tactical feedback about user experience can be garnered from one-on-one interviews.

Should you choose to conduct research through a focus group, you may still have questions on where to start and how to go about it. After all, it takes a qualified corporate facilitator to lead this type of research.