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POPin Blog

3 Reasons For The Death Of The Focus Group

As a business leader (or marketer), there is nothing more powerful than hearing first-hand what people have to say about your products , services, brand and competition. Traditionally, this insight was gained the old-fashioned way – with a Focus Group. Yes, the two-way mirror. And aside from a straight-up martini, one of Don Draper and the rest of the Mad Men’s favorite method of gaining customer insight. Pardon our #TBT, but Focus Groups do have some obvious benefits:
  • The researcher can interact with the participants, pose follow-up questions or ask questions that probe more deeply.
  • Results can be easier to understand than complicated statistical data.
  • The researcher can get information from non-verbal responses, such as facial expressions or body language.
  • Information is provided more quickly than if people were interviewed separately.­
While all of these are valid points and give more information than a survey or questionnaire, they don’t always give as much as is needed to succeed. Despite advantages like spontaneity among participants, there are a number – quite a number, actually – of disadvantages in conducting focus groups. Disadvantage #1: Not as In Depth Compared to individual interviews, focus groups are not as efficient in covering maximum depth on a particular issue. A particular disadvantage of a focus group is the possibility that the members may not express their honest and personal opinions about the topic at hand. They may be hesitant to express their thoughts, especially when their thoughts oppose the views of another participant. Disadvantage #2: Cost Focus groups are relatively expensive compared to other forms of research. The cost per session can average between $4,000 and $6,000 in 2010, according to the article “Conducting Surveys and Focus Groups” at business publication Entrepreneur.com. Research professionals often recommend that companies run at least two different sessions, increasing the cost. And with focus groups needing an average of 10 participants, well, you do the math. Disadvantage #3 PLUS more….
  • There can be disagreements and irrelevant discussion which distract from the main focus.
  • Depending on the audience, the focus group can be hard to control and manage.
  • Results can be tricky to analyze.
  • Sometimes it’s difficult to encourage a range of people to participate.
  • Many participants may find a focus group situation intimidating or off-putting; participants may feel under pressure to agree with the dominant view.
  • As they are self-selecting, they may not be representative of non-users.
We do think that there’s a time and place, and certainly some value in a traditional focus group. But we truly believe that if you want real feedback, real discussion and a real game plan to follow, a crowdsolving tool like PoPin, where discussion can be anonymous, is your solution. Just ask The Shuuk.