There are several ways businesses can use focus groups to gain valuable insights and solve problems, test new ideas, identify the needs of target customers and more.
Did you know that there are types of focus groups, each offering a different way for C-Suite executives and mid-level managers to learn more from a group of individuals?
The following is a sampling some of the different types of focus groups.
Single Focus Group
Single focus groups are the most common and are what most marketers think of when they think of this type of research tool. With one moderator and a group of about 12 participants, the group explores a set list of questions and topics while the organization conducting the research observe behind a two-way mirror or through a closed-circuit camera.
Mini Focus Group
Sometimes holding a single focus group with significantly fewer participants is preferred, particularly for higher-level or highly influential participants. Mini focus groups follow the same set-up as single groups, but with only approximately five participants. These mini groups allow for more in-depth input from each participant, and more intimate discussions.
Two-Way Focus Group
This approach involves two sets of participants – one involved in a single focus group-type discussion, and the second observing and commenting on the first’s conversation. Two-way focus groups are useful for complex topics, or explorations of strong or controversial opinions. By commenting on the first group, the second group can dig deeper and explore the emotions surrounding a given topic.
Dual-Moderator Focus Group
Not surprisingly, dual-moderator focus groups involve two moderators. They serve as a tag-team, one moderator facilitating the discussion and the other managing the time and ensuring that all topics are covered. Together, the moderators balance deep exploration of topics while keeping the group focused and on-track.
Dueling Moderators Focus Group
Dueling focus groups (sometimes called “fencing moderator” focus groups) also involve two moderators. This type helps establish an environment designed to ensure all sides of an issue are discussed. Each moderator is prepared with a position on either side of an issue and engage with each other to encourage participants to explore new ways of thinking.
Client Participant Focus Group
In nearly all situations, managers and companies are encouraged to stay behind a two-way mirror and engage with moderators through electronic communications or old-fashioned note-passing. However, there may be times when an experienced client may choose to sit in on the conversation to explore a topic in more detail or help guide the conversation to be most useful. Managers may participate anonymously (where other participants don’t know they have initiated the research) or be up-front about their affiliation.
Online Focus Group
Focus groups are sometimes held by conference calls, otherwise known as teleconference focus groups. With improvements in technology, these remote-participant meetings have become more effective. Online focus groups are held using video conferencing tools and cameras available on many laptops. Participants can see and hear the moderator and other participants, enabling everyone to respond to body language. This approach enables participants to dial-in from broader geographies.
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