What is a Focus Group?

Definition: A focus group is a small group of people gathered to provide their opinion and views about a particular subject. It is a research technique employed in marketing and social sciences that offer qualitative information about how certain issues are perceived by individuals.

What Does Focus Group Mean?

Focus groups tend to be not smaller than four but not larger than fifteen people gathered with a specific purpose. Results from focus groups are not taken as statistical data, but they are useful to reflect qualitative opinions of similar individuals. For example, the purpose might be to know the opinion about a politician’s image or a new product’s concept. The organization conducting the research selects the people that will participate and leads the session in order to guide the discussion towards the topic of interest.

The candidates must match certain socio-economic characteristics such as gender, social status, profession, age, etc. Focus groups are more useful when interrelation among people is promoted, to create richer responses and reactions in comparison to individual, isolated interviews. Instead of short, simple answers, the researcher encourages open answers as a way to identify issues and opinions that were previously unknown.

Example

Color World Inc. is a small, young company that manufactures and market beauty products for women. It decided to launch a new eye shadow product line introducing new colors. The company did not have enough money to conduct a large-size market research project but still wanted to collect some market information before the launch. The Marketing Manager then decided to conduct three focus groups with women ranging from 15 to 40 years old.

He was basically trying to obtain reactions about package design and brand name. After the group’s sessions were finished, he identified that package design seemed fine but the brand name was unattractive to the youngest women. Driven by the results, the marketing team modified the name and thus created a more contemporary brand image for the young-age market.