15 Benefits of an Online Focus Group

An online focus group is an effective method to conduct qualitative marketing research online.

It’s one of the fastest growing market research techniques today. In May 2009, Itracks, a leading vendor of online research services, reported its first quarter business was up 40% year over year.

Online groups offer rich data, convenience, and speed compared with traditional face-to-face focus groups.

Using online focus groups you can,

1. Assess reactions to product concepts, ads, messages, and web sites.

2. Get rich word for word quotes and actionable insights. Respondents typically post well thought-out, written responses. Compare it to 10 -12 verbal minutes you get from each respondent in face-to-face, traditional groups. (90 minutes divided by 9 respondents in face-to-face traditional focus groups).

3. Get verbatim transcripts immediately, and save money on transcripts.

4. Avoid travel headaches, travel time and lost time. No more waiting in airport lines and having to take off your shoes in security lines. And, no more delayed flights, missed and rescheduled focus groups, and more nights away from home.

5. Save thousands of dollars in travel expenses associated with traditional, face-to-face focus groups.

6. Interview hard to reach segments. For example, executives, subject matter experts, professionals, teens, busy people.

7. Get better geographical respondent representation than face-to-face focus groups.

8. Vary and refine concepts in response to respondent replies during a three-day online sessions.

9. Get management and colleagues to engage in your project. They don’t need to travel. They watch from their computers.

10. Save money and time compared with ethnographic and traditional focus groups.

11. Use advanced moderating techniques. Ask respondents to identify words, sentences, and images they like and dislike, using mark up tools available with the online technology. Ask respondents to buy or use a product and comment about it. Ask respondents to e-mail pictures or video clips about a topic. Then post them for discussion.

12. Launch quantitative mini-surveys during the online sessions. This is useful when you want respondents to rate or rank product or ad concepts.

13. Conduct one-on-one, in-depth interviews quickly with experts, customers, prospects, the trade and executives.

14. Work with collaborative customers, lead users or panels for weeks or months. Develop and collaborate on new product ideas, concepts, designs, prototypes, alpha, and beta test products.

15. Talk about sensitive subjects with respondents who prefer to be unseen and anonymous. You us the one-on-one feature for sensitive topics that respondents prefer not to talk about in face-to-face, traditional groups.

Web 2.0 is here. And, so is gaining intelligence using marketing research online.

Try online focus groups.

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