If you do a quick online search about focus groups, you’re likely to come across articles that claim that nationwide qualitative research firms think focus groups are irrelevant and old-fashioned. This is complete bunk. Experienced qualitative research consultants will tell you that focus groups remain relevant because they consistently provide valuable insights. It isn’t that focus groups themselves are the secret sauce to successful market research studies, it’s that researchers know which methodology to use depending on the purpose and scope of the study.
How to Use In-Depth Interviews and Focus Groups
In-depth interviews and focus groups are marketing tools. There are lots of different marketing research tools. What separates mediocre qualitative studies from stellar ones is using the right tool for the right job. Just like you wouldn’t use a screwdriver to pound a nail, you’d use a hammer, the same applies to focus groups. Focus groups aren’t appropriate for drawing statistical conclusions, quantitative research is what would be called for. In-depth interviews and focus groups are tools. Similar to any job, some tools are better suited to particular jobs. When the job requires discovering, gaining deeper understanding, exploring, and developing theories, then in-depth interviews and/or focus groups are the tools you’ll use.
If you’re wanting to learn more about a market, focus groups and in-depth interviews are worthwhile. Probing new markets, segments, trends, prospects, customers, competitors, and channels produce insight. Depending on what the subject matter of a study is will determine what type of participants need to be recruited. Market research recruiting firms can assist in finding the most suitable study participants.
If expert opinion is required, hiring a nationwide recruitment agency is imperative. Experts in various fields possess insider knowledge, experience, and facts. While including experts in qualitative market research is crucial, recruiting can be a challenge. Employing nationwide recruitment services to help connect with this hard-to-reach audience is money well spent.
Insights and Knowledge
Qualitative research produces copious amounts of data. Sorting through the mountain of information you amass from interviewing experts, prospects, and customers invariably you will stumble upon key insights and knowledge. These discoveries are why focus groups and in-depth interviews remain relevant, as they can transform strategic planning, advertising campaigns, and product development.
Focus groups aren’t dead, it’s about using the right tools for the right job.