Definition: A focus group is a qualitative method for collecting data. In this method, a group of people (usually 6 to 10 people) attend a meeting to review and discuss a topic and share their opinions, feedback, knowledge and insights related to the topic under discussion. Sessions are completely flexible and participants are free to express their opinions and convince other participants about their opinions. Each focus group, in addition to the people participating in the discussion, has a moderator, the moderator has the task of reducing bias in the discussion and ensuring the correctness of the results and taking notes on the discussions and opinions of the participants. The purpose of implementing this method is not to reach a consensus of opinion or agreement on the subject, and the purpose is to identify and understand the perceptions, feelings, experiences and attitudes of customers about the brand, product or service; For this reason, careful selection of participants is a great importance because these people are representatives of a larger target group.
Main pillars: Participants: The process of selecting participants is an important step in the implementation of this method. The main criterion for selecting participants is their knowledge of the subject. Moderator: He is the leader of the group and should impartially guide the group members through questions.
Application: A focus group is usually used when there is little knowledge about the target market (or no knowledge about it). Therefore, FGDs are used when a new product or service is being developed and the company producing the product or service does not know the reaction of customers to the product. In this case, a focus group is conducted with the aim of receiving opinions, suggestions and reactions from customers, before being made available to the general public; After the information is collected, changes may be made to the product or service to ensure the positive reaction of the target customers.
Types of Focus Group: Depending on the needs of the research, the type of Focus Group will be different, the types of focus groups are as follows:
- Dual-moderator focus group: two moderators manage the group. One moderator has the task of running the meeting perfectly and the other one has the task of asking questions from the participants.
- Two-way focus group: includes two separate groups that discuss the topic at different times; In this way, during the FGD of the first group, the participants of the second group observe the meeting. After finishing the first session, the people of the second group will start discussing the topic. The participants of the second group, having gained a deeper insight due to the observation of the previous session, will have more opportunities to go deeper into the topic and provide more opinions and views.
- Mini focus group: instead of 6-10 members, this group limits its participants to 4-5 people.
- Client-involvement focus group: This method belongs to when the client requests to conduct a focus group with selected and invited people on his behalf.
- Participant-moderated focus group: In this method, one or more participants temporarily assume the role of moderator.
Online focus group: These groups use online media to collect opinions and feedback and are like normal focus groups of 6 to 10 people. Among the advantages of this type of FGD, it can be mentioned that it is not geographically limited and is affordable.
- Clarifying and testing previous concepts and findings
- understanding met and unmet needs and hearing real feedback from customers
- discovering issues that have not been considered but are important to the customer
- and understanding the customer’s decision-making process are the benefits of the focus group, which can be achieved in a short period of time (usually 2 hours).