If you’ve ever been an observer of a focus group you may already know that M&M’s are the unofficial snack food for the two-hour session. No one really knows how the tradition started, but the multi-colored candy treat has an uncanny ability to keep everyone on task as they listen to the conversation being held with their current or prospective customers. In addition to “plain or peanut?” Power Marketing Research has often had clients ask us what they should be looking and listening for during a focus group. As a client/observer here are some key things to watch for:
Recently we have been hearing the term “focus group” used to describe many different types of interactions—everything from a telephone call with a single customer to a 30-minute staff meeting over coffee. In the world of marketing research, a focus group is a defined as a qualitative tool to reach out to customers or potential customers. Let’s delve a little more deeply into how focus groups works and how they might be used to gather data for your needs.
One of the best ways to make improvements to your business is to better understand how your customer experiences your products or services. The best way to do this is by mapping out their experience and then looking for opportunities to make those improvements. Think of it as the ultimate road trip where you get to ride along with your customer. You can map out the entire trip, such as making an initial contact through a sale, or just a specific interaction. The mapping process takes a few key steps: define the customer, conduct research, and develop the map.
Most employers know that employee turnover is one of the highest costs they will incur. Hiring and training staff, service disruption, and customer service all end up suffering. Measuring employee attitudes and listening to their opinions can lead to lower turnover and increase your bottom line.
Here are some steps you can take to start exploring employee research.
1. Identify the key issues. What issues are most critical related to employee retention? Talk to upper and middle managers and uncover what is causing the most concern. These issues serve as the starting point for constructing the questions you'll be asking employees.
2. Start talking to employees. Work with a cross-section of employees to learn what are the drivers of employee satisfaction. A focus group is a useful method for gathering this information.
If you're thinking about launching a new product or service, a critical first step is going through a customer discovery process. The process typically consists of deciding what problem you are solving for your customer, and then testing that out with potential customers. Creating a persona for the intended customer will allow you to begin generating a list of questions which can be used during customer interviews. Here are some sample interview questions to consider:
One of the best ways to communicate value to your potential customer is by showcasing how you have already helped a current or past customer.
Here are a few tips for writing compelling case studies:
- Tell the story from the perspective of a potential customer. Be results-driven in your language so that prospect sees how your can meet their specific needs. Include all the relevant details such as the customer name, project title and goals. Describe exactly how you met the goals. What will the long-term effect be for the customer? Demonstrate why you were successful.
It may sound like the plot of a science fiction novel, but what if you could predict the future? Better yet, what if you could read people’s minds? While you’re developing a new product or service wouldn’t it be incredible to know whether it will succeed or not? Getting inside your customer’s head and determining whether they will buy your product or service might seem like an impossible task but the creation of a customer scorecard, paired with marketing research, can yield the answers to your questions.
You probably just got one in your e-mail inbox; or maybe the last time you stayed in a hotel; and that shopping site keeps asking you to do it now. I'm talking about taking a survey.
Why should you take time out of your busy day to respond to a survey? Here are a few great reasons:
Surveys are used to make critical business decisions, improve customer service, and guide strategic direction. Your input is a valuable part of this process.
People Read Your Responses
When you are asked to provide a response someone is typically taking the time to read that response. Open-ended questions are especially useful to marketers and research staff because we read your direct comments.
They Can't Change What They Don't Know
A company can't make quality or customer service improvements if they don't know there is a problem. Your input (and those of anyone surveyed) help identify customer service issues that need addressing.
Good News Helps Too
It's also helpful for companies to hear the good news as well as the bad. Offer praise when it's deserved so that extra efforts can be rewarded.
We Need Your Input
Marketing researchers need your input. The more responses we have, the more conclusions we can draw. Your opinions really do matter!
A marketing research project can be filled with many important decisions. Focus groups are complicated by the fact that there are decisions to be made about the location, recruiting participants, incentives, and much more. Before you start any focus group project you should be thinking about one of the most important decision you will make—who will moderate the focus groups? The moderator is the leader of the focus groups and ensuring that you have the right moderator will lead to a great project. Here's what you should be asking: