Conducting online research about your products and services, especially before you introduce a new offering for the marketplace, allows your company to gauge customer sentiment and see ways that you can improve upon what you are already doing. As you work to gain this valuable insight, it is necessary to leverage the existing technology you have available in order to connect with your target market and build your brand. Whether you are a B2B organization or are developing a highly anticipated consumer product, incorporating customer feedback from online focus groups into your research and development process will help you spot industry trends and stay ahead of your competition.
What Are Online Focus Groups?
Focus groups seek to gain qualitative research for an organization. In contrast to quantitative research, such as survey data that is measured numerically, qualitative research is an open-ended approach that measures spontaneous and raw reactions from people when discussing your products and services. By working with small sample sizes, companies are able to connect with consumers at a highly personal level. This allows consumers to open up candidly and provide honest and accurate information that can be used to affect changes in packaging, brand positioning, and advertisement. To be able to take advantage of the feedback that comes from online focus groups, a company must decide on the type of group to conduct.
Types of Online Focus Groups
There are two main types of online focus groups that companies conduct to solicit feedback from clients and customers: real-time, text-based groups, and video groups.
- Real-Time – Real-time, text-based focus groups allow you and your team to see how people interact with one other and a moderator in a chat-room setting. Companies receive quick results and have the option to extend focus groups to multiple days in order to increase the scope of the information that is collected.
- Video – Video focus groups have an added advantage of allowing companies to see facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice when participants respond to questions. These groups are also conducted in real-time by using webcam technology so your company can have more personal interactions with your participants.
The immediacy of feedback is essential, as it allows your organization to use the research to make key decisions about how you proceed for a product launch or what you can do to increase the level of customer satisfaction with your company overall.
Setting Up an Online Focus Group
Focus groups online are popular because they require fewer resources than face-to-face interviews and survey campaigns. In order to set up a focus group for your company it is important to look for experts in the field, so you can ensure quality and neutrality in the process. Unbiased research is the most useful to your company, which is why the experts at e-FocusGroups are trusted to deliver professional service and dedication to your business’ unique needs. To learn more about scheduling an online focus group and see how your business can benefit from the information collected, call e-FocusGroups today at (707) 585-7363.
All of the experts praise market research, as do most companies. However, some small businesses might not understand the reasons behind conducting market research and how they benefit from the process. Judging from recent swings in the economy, it might seem that only the largest companies survive, but that is not entirely true. Properly implementing market research allows small business owners to save time and money, as well as their businesses, by analyzing current trends in spending, products, and industry standards.
- Market research tells companies how strong their brand really is. Conducting and analyzing research before releasing a product or service can save time and money. It helps companies learn more about their target market and gauge sentiment as to whether or not it’s a good idea to release the product now, or shelve it for later.
- With market research, companies are able to learn more about their target audience and anticipate if there is a potential market for their product. This helps the company focus their marketing efforts on specific demographics to achieve the success they are looking for. Research can also help determine pricing.
- Knowing the target market can help companies understand the best way to market to these customers. When considering avenues for advertising, the company must consider likely places where the target group might see or hear an ad. Such advertising also has to be memorable and make a personal connection with this group of consumers — all things that skilled market research can uncover.
- Companies should conduct market research early in the product lifecycle, ideally before the start of R&D. This saves them from spending the time and money creating a product that is doomed to fail. Even better, they won’t end up creating a product the market is not ready for. Effective research in the early stages allows companies to invest their energies and resources strategically.
- Performing market research continuously pays off in a big way as well. After a company develops a product, the use of focus groups to test out the packaging is a smart move. If the packaging is confusing, and consumers are not sure what the product does or how to use it, they are less likely to purchase it. Packaging research is a vital component of your plan to achieve eventual success.
- With market research, companies can determine if people like their product and predict if the risk will be worth the reward before investing in its mass production. Businesses can achieve this with focus groups. When designing focus groups, companies must develop clear and important questions to ask that will determine whether the product is a good fit, if the packaging is effective, and if the description of it is sufficient for consumers to understand what the product does.
- Companies use market research to determine the competitive environment, as well as what features, capabilities, or claims might make their product distinctive. Through research, they can determine what their potential customers like and do not like about the product, and use this information to gain a competitive advantage.
For more information about the benefits of market research and how it can help your company, contact us at e-FocusGroups.
Brand image testing occurs when a company systematically examines market perceptions of their product and analyzes the market research and feedback from consumers about this product. This process can be completed in several ways, including focus groups, analyzing spontaneous mentions, or discussion in social media, and much more. Companies then interpret this data, which tells them a lot about their product and what their next steps should be. There are many great benefits of using this type of data — best of all being how consumers view your product.
- You can find out what consumers think. Knowing what consumers think is one of the most important aspects of brand image testing. Consumers share this information in direct ways through reviews and feedback, and in indirect ways through social media conversations. Market researchers analyze the social media data of consumers to see if what they think of the brand lines up with what the company feels the brand stands for. This helps companies understand how their brands look in the consumer’s eyes and if it matches their objectives for the product.
- It tests the strengths of your brand. How well are you getting your message across to consumers? Do your customers know what your company stands for and do they connect your specific product with your company? By analyzing market research through customer feedback surveys, focus groups and social media impressions, your team can identify the perception of your brand and find any areas that can be strengthened.
- It opens up new partnership opportunities. When looking through market research results, companies often uncover connections between brands. This offers a unique opportunity for marketers, who can take this information to use in a presentation when pitching a partnership with another company. The goal is to get the facts and figures needed to identify these opportunities and back up your proposals so both you and a potential partner can reap the benefits.
- You can use the results to choose a natural spokesperson. Market research allows you to gain new insights into your business and lets you see your brand from your customers’ point-of-view. As such, it helps you identify both the strengths and weaknesses of your company. When looking for a spokesperson to connect with your target market, you want to find someone who resonates with your consumers and connects with the message you are trying to get across. Testing your brand image will lead you to finding the right representative for your company.
- It can help you inform future positioning. Knowing which marketing techniques are working and those that need to be revised will help you take the steps you need, moving forward. Keying in on emerging industry trends and the thoughts of your customers may mean that your team has to rethink your marketing strategy in order to achieve continued success. For example, your survey results might indicate that more of your customers are researching your products and industry online. As a result, you can increase and improve your online presence.
For more information about what marketing research can do for your company, contact us at e-FocusGroups.
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