Research

M&M’s—The Unofficial/Official Food of the Focus Group

M&M’s—The Unofficial/Official Food of the Focus Group

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:  

Picking the Right Research Method

One of the most important choices in any research project is the methodology used to collect data. Every method has its strengths and weaknesses, and they are sometimes used together in a project.

Let's look at two of the most popular choices, surveys and focus groups. Surveys are composed of a series of questions used to gather opinions, thoughts, and feelings from a sample of the population. They are conducted over the phone, via email, and online. Focus groups are a gathering of 10-12 people who are asked about their perceptions and opinions during a session led by a trained moderator.

SURVEYS:

  • Quantitative—data is gathered using a quantitative (numerical) process.
  • Gathered from a statistically valid sample of your target market/population.
  • Help you identify trends, measure awareness, gauge satisfaction, and overall interest.
  • Are often used for benchmarking.
  • Can be conducted in-person, online, over the phone and by mail.

FOCUS GROUPS:

  • Qualitative—data is gathered using qualities or characteristics.
  • Good for in-depth questions.
  • Help you obtain information about motivations, perceptions, thoughts and ideas.
  • Allow you to easily test images, concepts, and campaigns.
  • Are most often conducted in-person.

Some projects require a mix of both quantitative and qualitative data in order to comprehensively meet your goals. Choosing the right method can mean success or failure, so choose wisely.

What If You Could Predict the Future?

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.