Focus Groups in Applied Marketing Research


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Slides for a lecture delivered by Dr. Kelly Page about the use and conduct of Focus Groups in Applied Marketing Research.

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  • 20/08/10
  • Focus Groups in Applied Marketing Research

    1. 1. Qualitative Marketing Research – Focus Groups Week 4 (1) Dr. Kelly Page Cardiff Business School E: T: @drkellypage T: @caseinsights FB:
    2. 2. <ul><li>Define qualitative research; </li></ul><ul><li>Explore the popularity of qualitative research; </li></ul><ul><li>Understand why qualitative research is not held in high esteem by some practitioners and academicians; </li></ul><ul><li>Learn about focus groups and their tremendous popularity; </li></ul><ul><li>Gain insight into conducting and analyzing a focus group; </li></ul><ul><li>Understand the controversy regarding online focus groups; </li></ul><ul><li>Understand the growing popularity of Internet focus groups; </li></ul><ul><li>Learn about other forms of qualitative research. </li></ul>Lecture Objectives
    3. 3. The Nature of Research <ul><li>Qualitative: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Research whose findings are not subject to quantification or quantitative analysis. Its research conclusions are not based on precisely, measurable statistics but on more subjective observations and analysis. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Quantitative: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Research that uses mathematical analysis. Typically research analysis is done using measurable and numeric standards. </li></ul></ul>
    4. 4. Qualitative Vs. Qualitative Research
    5. 5. Choosing a data collection method Survey Research: Research in which an interviewer interacts with respondents to obtain facts, opinions, and attitudes. (Quant) Observation Research: Typically descriptive research that monitors respondents’ actions without direct interaction (Qual/Quant) Experiments: Research to measure causality, in which the researcher changes one or more variables and observes the effect of the changes on another variable. (Quant) Qualitative Research: Research such as focus groups, interviews, secondary analysis, and case studies.
    6. 6. Qualitative Research Methods Focus Groups Interviews Observation Concept Testing Perceptual Mapping <ul><li>Factors to Consider: </li></ul><ul><li>Time / budget; </li></ul><ul><li>How the research results will be used; </li></ul><ul><li>Product / service tangibility; </li></ul><ul><li>Research goals & objectives; </li></ul><ul><li>Participant availability and willingness; </li></ul><ul><li>Desired analysis sophistication; </li></ul><ul><li>Whether quantitative research follows. </li></ul>
    7. 7. Growing Role of Focus Groups <ul><li>Good for idea generation, brainstorming, and understanding customer vocabulary </li></ul><ul><li>Can be helpful in gaining insight to motives, attitudes, perceptions </li></ul><ul><li>Can reveal needs / likes & dislikes / prejudices driven by emotions </li></ul><ul><li>A group of eight to 12 participants who are led by a moderator in an in-depth discussion on one particular topic or concept. </li></ul>Focus Group Defined: Some Key Characteristics: Group Dynamic Interacting among people in a group. The moderator must manages this factor deftly.
    8. 8. Conducting a Focus Group <ul><li>Decide on the key focus group objectives; </li></ul><ul><li>Use secondary research to hone questions; </li></ul><ul><li>Select focus group facility and participants; </li></ul><ul><li>begin recruiting after deciding on participant incentives; </li></ul><ul><li>Select a moderator; </li></ul><ul><li>Develop a moderator (discussion) guide to chart flow of group; </li></ul><ul><li>Conduct the focus group - generally about two hours; </li></ul><ul><li>Review the video tape and analyze the results; </li></ul><ul><li>Prepare a written report. </li></ul>Focus Group Flow Moderator Analyses Results
    9. 9. Conducting a Focus Group <ul><li>Selection process: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Potential opinion leaders are best </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Participants must be screened for relevance to the topic </li></ul></ul><ul><li>A focus group facility - A research facility consisting of a conference room or living room setting and a separate observation room with a one-way mirror or live audiovisual feed. </li></ul><ul><li>A person hired by the client to lead the focus group; this person should have a background in psychology or sociology or, at least, marketing. </li></ul><ul><li>Create moderator's guide to include: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Timetable for each topic , clear goals/questions to be answered </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Strategy for keeping group on task / focused </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Managing the group dynamics is critical </li></ul></ul>The Participants: The Moderator: The Location: Key Issues:
    10. 10. The Moderator Builds Rapport Some Helpful Techniques: <ul><li>Meet and greet the participants before the focus group; </li></ul><ul><li>Ask personal questions during thew warm-up; </li></ul><ul><li>Reveal personal information about yourself; </li></ul><ul><li>Ask for the participants assistance during the process; </li></ul><ul><li>Use humor when appropriate; </li></ul><ul><li>Dress a the same level as the respondents; </li></ul><ul><li>Start the focus group session sitting down; </li></ul><ul><li>Have a discussion guide to assist. </li></ul>Discussion Guide: A written outline of topics to be covered during a focus group discussion.
    11. 11. What Makes a Good Moderator <ul><li>Is genuinely interested in people's: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>behavior, emotions, lifestyles, passions, prejudices, and opinions </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Is accepting and appreciative of participant differences; </li></ul><ul><li>Is objective and open minded; </li></ul><ul><li>Has good listening skills; </li></ul><ul><li>Has good observation skills - can pick-up on body language; </li></ul><ul><li>Is interested in a wide array of subjects; </li></ul><ul><li>Prepares for the topic at hand to enhance his or her credibility; </li></ul>Critical Elements: The Moderator's Role is Key
    12. 12. Critical Elements: <ul><li>Has good oral, written, and organizational skills; </li></ul><ul><li>Is able to deftly manage conversation flow; </li></ul><ul><li>Is good at follow-up questioning and probing; </li></ul><ul><li>Has good attention to detail and is precise; </li></ul><ul><li>Should understand the clients business and industry; </li></ul><ul><li>Should be able to provide strategic leadership to management; </li></ul><ul><li>Should to be personably agreeable and easy to work with. </li></ul>What Makes a Good Moderator The Moderator's Role is Key
    13. 13. Discussion Guide <ul><li>An outline of the topics to be discussed and activities to be used for use by moderator (a guide) </li></ul><ul><li>Based on research objectives and client needs </li></ul><ul><li>Outline: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>House keeping – Introductions & rules/boundaries </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Build Rapport – warm up discussion/activities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provoke intense/deep discussion (thematic organisation) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Summarise significant conclusions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Debrief participants and feedback </li></ul></ul>
    14. 14. Pros and Cons of Focus Groups <ul><li>Candor of participants; </li></ul><ul><li>Looks the customer “in the eye”; </li></ul><ul><li>Generates fresh ideas and brainstorming; </li></ul><ul><li>Allows client to observe and comment onsite; </li></ul><ul><li>Can be executed quickly; </li></ul><ul><li>Can enhance other data collection methods; </li></ul><ul><li>Participants provide valuable information useable for the next research phase. </li></ul><ul><li>Expense and time; </li></ul><ul><li>A significant level of expertise is needed; </li></ul><ul><li>Participation issues - “no shows”; </li></ul><ul><li>The interpretation is subjective; </li></ul><ul><li>Often misused as representative the population. </li></ul>Pros: Cons:
    15. 15. Online Focus Groups – What Works <ul><li>Low costs & no geographic barriers; </li></ul><ul><li>It can be executed quickly; </li></ul><ul><li>It is good for generating fresh ideas / brainstorming; </li></ul><ul><li>It can enhance other data collection methods; </li></ul><ul><li>Participants provide valuable information for the next research phase. </li></ul><ul><li>There is a loss of group, hands-on, dynamic; </li></ul><ul><li>The interpretation is subjective; </li></ul><ul><li>Projective techniques less effective; </li></ul><ul><li>Security - you don’t know who is at the computer; </li></ul><ul><li>Non-verbal inputs will be generally/often missed; </li></ul><ul><li>Attention to the topic - participants often drift; </li></ul><ul><li>Loss of direct client observational involvement; </li></ul><ul><li>Often misused as representative the population; </li></ul><ul><li>Exposure to external stimuli stymied; </li></ul><ul><li>Role and skill of moderator is not often fully realized. </li></ul>Pros: Cons:
    16. 16. Other Trends if Focus Group Methods <ul><li>Combining online and telephone focus groups; </li></ul><ul><li>Videoconferencing; </li></ul><ul><li>Viewing focus groups online. </li></ul>
    17. 17. Other Qualitative Methods <ul><li>Pros and Cons: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Group pressure is eliminated; </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>More costly than a focus group; </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>More personalized attention given; </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Often geared towards getting underlying information; </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Interviewee becomes more sensitive to nonverbal clues; </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Respondent can be less forthright as the focus is on them; </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Interview does not have the group dynamic as an advantage; </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Can result in not very much ground getting covered; </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Interview can be conducted anywhere - don’t need a “facility”. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Key Techniques: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Laddering approach </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Hidden issue questioning </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Symbolic analysis approach </li></ul></ul></ul>One-on-one interviews that probe and elicit detailed answers to questions, often using non-directive techniques to uncover hidden motivations. Depth Interviews:
    18. 18. Limitations of Qualitative Research 1. Attitudinal, perception, and belief differences revealed during qualitative research might not be easily measure. Quantitative research will more precisely measure these differences. 2. Qualitative research is often not statistically representative of the general population. Although qualitative results might give you a good idea about the population, they do not allow you to precisely gauge the populations’ responses based on the limited sample typical of qualitative research. 3. Anyone can purport to be an expert. Things to Consider:
    19. 19. Summary Slide <ul><li>The Nature of Qualitative Research </li></ul><ul><li>Qualitative Vs. Qualitative Research </li></ul><ul><li>Limitations of Qualitative Research </li></ul><ul><li>Qualitative Research Methods </li></ul><ul><li>Growing Role of Focus Groups </li></ul><ul><li>Conducting a Focus Group </li></ul><ul><li>What Makes a Good Moderator - Key Factors </li></ul><ul><li>Pros and Cons of Focus Groups </li></ul><ul><li>Online Focus Groups – What Works </li></ul><ul><li>Other Trends if Focus Group Methods </li></ul><ul><li>Other Qualitative Methods - Interviews </li></ul><ul><li>Key Projective Techniques </li></ul>
    20. 20. The content of this work is of shared interest between the author, Kelly Page and other parties who have contributed and/or provided support for the generation of the content detailed within. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales. Kelly Page (cc)