Focus groups are a great way for brands, businesses and organizations to collect consumer insight, but what exactly do they entail?


A focus group is a research method where a small group of strategically selected individuals participate in guided discussions to provide in-depth insight on consumer attitudes and opinions. Participants are usually providing feedback regarding a product, service, concept or marketing campaign. The feedback from the small group is meant to represent expected opinions from a larger generalized target population. Participants are selected based on the demographics of the target audience such as location, age, socioeconomic status and race amongst others.

magnifying glassWhy

So what value does this add? Ultimately, focus groups help you better understand your customers either before you consider a new concept and/or in the middle of development to ensure you’re on the right track. Focus groups allow alternative ways of obtaining information to gain more qualitative data. This is data that can’t be counted, measured or easily expressed using numbers; it describes qualities or characteristics. It’s descriptive rather than numerical.


A focus group can be conducted by any organization that wants to get feedback on a current customer issue or a new product idea. This kind of research allows you to learn about your audience’s opinions and needs when developing your product or service.

When selecting participants, you should consider customers who are good at productive sharing, not just hypercritics who dominate a room. Participants should be people who would be likely to benefit or interact with your potential product or service in order to represent the population you are trying to reach as accurately as possible


Focus groups can be conducted in two ways: online or in-person. Which is better is up to you to decide, but here are some pros and cons of each to help you in your decision-making.

Pros & Cons of In-Person Focus Groups

Pros & Cons of Virtual Focus Groups


Now that you have all these provisions in place, how do you execute a focus group? 

First, you must prepare thoroughly. Organization is very important to conduct a high-quality and successful focus group.

  1. Make sure you are clear on what you want to get from this feedback: Ensuring you have a clear purpose and goal creates consistency and organization so that you can keep the process on target.
  2. Have your content ready: This can include anything from questions you want to ask to product/design samples you want feedback on.
  3. Have an agenda: Creating an agenda establishes a clear schedule that allows you to conduct an organized session to ensure you are getting the most benefit out of the time you have with participants.
  4. Personally invite people: When you personally invite people, it feels more cordial and it adds accountability, which gets participants more likely to attend.
  5. Size matters: It’s important to keep in mind that focus groups should be between 5-8 people per meeting. This allows everyone to have a chance to share and contribute to the conversation and gives you the opportunity to give attention to each person.welcoming focus group participants

Once you have gone through the process of preparation, you are ready to host your focus group. Make sure you have created a positive, welcoming environment. 

Here are some of our favorite tips to consider including in your next focus group:

Now what?

Now that you know the what, why, who, where, and how, you can use these steps as a guide to administer a focus group that serves your organization to its fullest potential. Unsure as to whether a focus group would benefit your organization? Connect with us to see if a Focus Group is a good fit for the projects you are planning.

Looking for other marketing consulting services? Request a consultation with us to find ways to take your brand to the next level.

Categories: Marketing