How to Observe Focus Groups
for Insight Development

Observe focus groups, and keep your mind open, if you want to foster insight development.

Watching and listening to focus groups delivers reality, new perspective, and insights.

If you are a product, marketing, brand, or executive manager, or a copywriter or creative manager, and you’ve never seen a focus group, do so.

You’ll enjoy it and gain new perspective.

Seeing and hearing respondents (customers and prospects) talk about products, services, brands, and advertising connects managers to the marketplace.

When you observe focus groups, you’ll want to,

  • Keep an OPEN MIND when listening
  • Read the discussion guide
  • Understand the research objectives
  • Listen to respondents
  • Avoid selective listening and evaluation – suspend your agenda
  • Listen to what is NOT being said
  • Avoid judging respondents
  • Avoid distracting respondents
  • Avoid distracting the moderator
  • Keep an OPEN MIND when evaluating responses

If you want to send questions to moderator during the focus group session,

  • Obtain agreement with the moderator before starting the session
  • Limit the number questions to a few
  • Send them towards the end of the focus group
  • Use one person to send in questions or wait until the moderator returns to the backroom

If the focus group is a first in series of focus groups about the research objective, keep an open mind. Observe the other groups and look for consistency and differences. Compare groups.

Ask yourself,

  • What are respondents saying?
  • What did you learn?
  • What’s new?
  • What surprises?
  • What confirms?
  • What’s the big take away?

Compare focus group results to other research such as quantitative research, ethnography, depth interviews, mystery shopping and more.

Also, compare results to consumer blogs, forums, product reviews, website keyword phrases, customer-support reports, sales reports, and other forms of customer feedback. Its part of insight development.

Focus groups provide one perspective of several perspectives you should get to develop broad customer insight.

Focus groups discover and explore. They guide direction. Like a detective, use focus group evidence as leads for further investigation.

Keep an open mind and enjoy the focus group experience.

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