Tag Archives: Focus Groups Online

How to Understand Your Marketplace

Before you can conduct any meaningful research to benefit your business, you must first be able to understand the marketplace your organization serves. A marketplace refers to your customers, their characteristics, and how your company operates in order to fulfill their needs with your products and services. Prior to developing a strategy to win more customers, you will also need to study your competition and the driving forces behind growth in the marketplace. In order to be successful in your industry, you must be able to complete online market research that gives your organization a deeper understanding of the competition, the factors that are a threat to success, and how your company can leverage its strengths to stay one step ahead.

Focus Groups Online

Find Out “Who”

One of the first things you need to do in order to understand your marketplace is find out who the competition is. Who makes similar products, and what is their overall market share? What strategies do they employ that help them grow their business? Answering these questions allows your company to identify growing players in your industry, as well as tactics that you may think about using to improve your relationship with your own customers.

“Who” also relates to your customers – those that have the final say in whether or not your products are purchased. What values do your customers hold? What is a consumer’s typical purchasing behavior? How do your target customers feel about your latest brand initiative? Online market research helps find answers to these questions so your business can be better in tune with the key role players in the market.

What Is the Marketplace?

While it may sound simple, being able to describe your market in basic terms is anything but. To be able to understand your marketplace and how you can succeed, your team must know what makes it tick. Study how your products test in various segments of the United States or in countries around the world. It is also smart to see the current state of the market in terms of monetary volume and competition, and to compare it to where it was five or ten years ago.

Uncover trends in your industry and compare them to past projections to see how the marketplace may grow in the future. Using the insight you gain from this research helps you see new opportunities for expansion, as well as obstacles to overcome.

Where Is the Marketplace?

Are your customers shopping for products in a physical retail location, or is more money spent online? Have you seen a surge in purchases from mobile devices? Build a market research plan that engages your consumers and clients so that your business can see the current business landscape and make any necessary changes or improvements. This will help improve your relationships, and give your research team the data and information needed to outperform the competition.

Focus groups connect you with consumers directly, and provide qualitative results that lead to more informed decisions, because today’s businesses are run on more than just quantitative questions and answers. Learn more about how market research can give your organization a better understanding of the current marketplace by contacting a representative of e-FocusGroups at (707) 585-7363.

Emerging Trends in Qualitative Research

As organizations and companies look for more ways to conduct online market research, it is necessary to understand the methods that have worked in the past, and the changes that must be made in the future. For example, sending out a research team to administer surveys of random shoppers at your store might have worked wonderfully in the past, but as your company expands its online offerings and reaches customers around the globe, that might not be viable anymore. Learning about emerging trends in qualitative research allows you to spot areas for improvement in your strategy so you can continue to strengthen your relationship with your target audience. Additionally, these trends will help ensure your market research techniques remain effective and worthwhile.

Sentiment from Industry Experts

One of the best ways to understand the direction of the market research industry is to poll professionals about what does and doesn’t work. This is exactly what GreenBook does with its quarterly GRIT Report, which stands for GreenBook Research Industry Trends. The Fall 2014 GRIT Report examined responses from 3,175 participants, composed of industry suppliers and clients, and discovered the following trends:

  • Increased use of tablets and smartphones is driving change in how research is conducted and analyzed.
  • Qualitative market research continues to be an important tool to meet the needs of organizations.
  • Research organizations and their clients must also explore new methodologies to adapt to change.

These responses show that as we move into 2015 and beyond, it is more important than ever to anticipate and adapt to changes in the customer landscape. To understand these changes and find out how your business can act to meet the needs of your customers, qualitative market research is the key.

Overcoming Market Research Limitations

Another area of focus for organizations is to find ways that allow them to conduct the qualitative market research they need within tighter budgets, or by using changing methods. With the shift toward mobile for customers, companies are taking advantage of online market research that uses focus groups to find out how consumers feel about a brand, and the reasons behind the purchases they make. Budgetary constraints are a tremendous obstacle for companies to overcome, and utilizing a focus group run online allows a business to save on staffing, materials, and travel costs.

When putting a market research plan into action, businesses also want to get the most value out of their time and money. Gaining access to as much insight and detail is critical so that information can be used as needed. Laddering and other focus group techniques probe for participant responses that will benefit product development, advertising, branding, distribution, and more.

Convenient Connection with Customers

At the end of the day, being able to connect with your customers in a way that is mutually convenient will help produce the most valuable data, especially from a qualitative standpoint. Online market research helps your team solicit feedback from customers around the world and gives them the opportunity to participate from the comfort of their own home. As a result, you’ll receive more candid responses with an online focus group and have the opportunity to run in-depth, multi-day discussions or real-time 90-minute sessions, according to your needs. To learn more about emerging trends in qualitative market research and how online focus groups can benefit your organization, contact a representative at e-FocusGroups at (707) 585-7363.

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Laddering Technique in Market Research

Finding out what is important to your customers and what influences their decisions is an essential result when conducting online market research. To accomplish this, your organization must be able to dig deeper into participant responses during focus groups to uncover the functional and emotional motivators for your customers. By using the laddering technique in your market research strategy, you will gain a better understanding of your customers, clients, or employees, which can be put to use in your daily operation. Armed with this information, your organization will be able to build new product concepts, create more effective marketing materials, and appeal to your audience more effectively.

What Is the Purpose of Laddering?

The purpose of laddering is to uncover the basic emotions that feed into a customer’s decision to purchase a certain product. The technique gets its name due to the nature of the questions asked by the researcher. By continuing to dig deeper in responses to your questions about your brand or a particular product, you are able to discover the “whys” that are present in every transaction.

Laddering, when looked at metaphorically, connects a person’s beliefs and values with their decision to buy your product. Each question you ask is a rung on the ladder that brings you one step closer to gaining this insight.

How Does Laddering Work?

Laddering is usually completed as a four-step process while you are conducting a focus group with individuals. You can deploy the technique by asking participants in online market research to elaborate on their responses to initial questions. The step-by-step questioning line allows you to find out the following information about your customers:

  1. Features of products they find important
  2. Functional benefits received from the feature
  3. Higher order benefits that are deeper than serving a functional purpose
  4. Emotional needs met by each of the benefits received

To find out these things you will need to start out with a generic question about your brand or product, and ask follow-up questions that are more direct and personal. For example, finding out why someone purchased a new pair of shoes from your company could include this dialogue:

  • “What do you like best about the shoes?”
    • “They are very comfortable.” (Feature)
  • “What makes comfort important?”
    • “I need to be able to run long distances at a time.” (Functional benefit)
  • “How does comfort achieve this for you?”
    • “I can run longer without getting injured or feeling fatigued.” (Higher benefit)
  • “What does running without pain or fatigue do for you?”
    • “I can get faster and feel accomplished by improving my marathon time.” (Emotional benefit)

From this conversation, you’ve identified that a customer wants to improve her time, and that determination led her to purchase your company’s shoes to help achieve that goal.

What Value Can Be Gained from Laddering?

Market researchers turn to laddering as a technique because they are able to gain the qualitative information that can be used to enhance product offerings, advertisements, and overall business strategy. Once you are able to connect a physical action with its underlying motivation, you have all of the tools needed to create compelling advertising copy that resonates with your audience.

The qualitative data you collect through laddering helps build your relationship with customers because you will understand their values and see ways that you can fulfill their needs. To use laddering effectively it is important to work with experts in online focus groups that will assist you with conducting your research and making the most out of the data it produces. To learn more about how focus groups can bolster your market research strategy, contact a representative of e-Focus Groups at (707) 585-7363.

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Common Myths about Focus Groups

Online Focus Groups

When developing a sound market research strategy for your business, it is important to make use of various tools available in order to get both the quantity and quality you need to make informed decisions. Online focus groups are an excellent way to leverage technology so that your organization can effectively connect with its target audience. However, some companies hold mistaken or outdated beliefs about the value of focus groups and, therefore, choose to ignore them as an integral part of their market research effort. Some of these myths include:

  1. Focus Groups Are Cost Prohibitive – One myth that organizations believe is that focus groups are prohibitively expensive. It’s true that traditional, in-person groups can be quite costly when multiple-cities are involved and both moderator and client team are required to fly to the various markets. But it does not have to be so. For example, it’s possible for the moderator to do the traveling and for the client team to stay home and observe the groups through live video. Online focus groups offer even more economy, inasmuch as nobody has to travel. Online focus groups allow moderator, respondents, and clients to conduct the research from the comfort of their own homes/offices.
  2. Focus Groups Are Very Inexpensive — Asserting this as a myth may seem to contradict the statement above but the fact is that novice research buyers frequently have price expectations that are unrealistically low. Even online focus groups have to be compensated for the time and expertise of the moderator, the technical infrastructure to support the online activities, respondent incentives, and other recruiting costs.
  3. Focus Groups Require Strangers – While most projects seek a random sample for the research, this is not always the ideal approach. Groups designed to elicit employee feedback is an important exception, for example. Another example is the research strategy where it makes more sense to interview groups of friends rather than strangers.
  4. Focus Groups Do Not Produce Meaningful Data – It’s true that focus groups do not lend themselves to statistical conclusions about large population. Thst’s the job of quantitative survey research. But focus groups are an extremely powerful tool for digging down and gain insight into deeper motivations behind the numbers..
  5. Focus Group Participants Aren’t Truthful – Some research buyers fear that focus group respondents will be less than candid, perhaps not want to hurt the client company’s feelings. A skilled moderator knows how to get past these sorts of biases. And, again, online focus groups are especially good at getting past this dynamic inasmuch as they tend to be relatively anonymous. Expeience has shown that respondents in online groups are especially forthcoming.

Learn more about how staging a focus group online will positively impact your market research strategy by contacting an e-Focus Groups representative at (707) 585-7363.

Assessing Employee Needs with Online Focus Groups

In order to get stronger as an organization, it is important to be able to look inside to find ways that you can improve on your everyday processes. One of the best ways to do this is by surveying employees to see how the process and policies you’ve developed are being put to practice each day. Doing so gives you insight into how employees feel about the organization, how they are affected by decisions that have been made and the ideas they have for the future of the company. Online focus groups facilitate discussion between employers and employees and give each group a forum for collaboration that will pay dividends down the road. Online qualitative research is often conducted by companies for a number of reasons, including anonymity, credibility, and cost.

Employees Provide Open, Honest Feedback

Since focus groups can be made completely anonymous when they are done online, employees are more willing to participate. Employees do not want to experience backlash or be put in a situation where they feel that they cannot be open and honest for fear that their job status may be negatively affected. Bulletin board focus groups feature online chats in which participants can interact with one another and a moderator, without management being involved. This way, employees can discuss various topics with one another while management gets a deeper look into what goes on and how people feel on the job.

In addition, employees are able to participate in these discussions away from the work setting, where they may feel pressured to give certain or favorable responses. In the end, you want truth, and to see what is and is not working for your business.

Online Focus Groups Deliver Credible Results

Without open and honest feedback from participants, the results and data gathered from focus groups would be worthless. By working with a third-party company with expertise in conducting these groups, you take bias out of the proceedings and allow for the process to unfold naturally. An alaternative to the Bulletin Board focus group discussed above is the real-time, text-based focus group. Rather than taking days, such a group is typically 90 minutes and you and your team are able to communicate with one another in a virtual back room as well as with the moderator, while participants answer questions and chat with one another.

After the group is over, whether it is after 90 minutes or over several days, your research providere is able to gather and analyze responses. The resulting information can then be used to influence company-wide changes in policy and procedures while improving relationships between all employees.

Complete Research Faster and for Less

Online focus groups for your employees save precious time and resources. Not only are you able to quickly enlist employees to participate, but the fast turnaround time also means you have results in your hands right when you need them. Employees are able to take part in the focus group from the comfort of their own home, which means that the normal workday is not interrupted. Due to the nature of a focus group online, you and your team can also get real-time information and help mold the conversation to new topics that come up during the conversation.

Explore your options for using focus groups online to gauge employee sentiment and feedback by calling the experts at e-Focus Groups today at (707) 585-7363.

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Advantages of Online Research over Face-to-Face Interviews

When your company is in the market research phase of product development, or just want to solicit feedback from loyal consumers to help improve your brand, it is necessary to find a method that allows for both you and your audience to work as efficiently as possible. Market research and focus groups help your business connect with your consumers outside of the usual company-customer relationship. Online focus groups create a comfortable environment for participants so you can get the honest information you need for your organization. Your company can also realize a number of benefits that will aid your efforts moving forward.

Online Research Saves You Money

One of the toughest things to do when conducting face-to-face interviews is finding a large and diverse sample size to get the highest level of accuracy in your findings. This costs a good amount of time and money, because you need to employ a research team, send the focus group moderator and client team to various locations around the country, and pay for expensive of shipping any related materials such as concept boards and so on. Online research is beneficial in this regard in a number of ways, including the following:

  • Cheaper to conduct online focus groups and/or surveys online
  • No need to pay for focus group facility and associated costs.
  • No need to send a client team around the country

As a result, you see significant savings without sacrificing the quality of data you are able to collect.

Online Research Enhances Participant Comfort

Recruiting for traditional, face-to-face focus groups may be more challenging because of the burden placed on respondents to travel to the facility, deal with traffic, find parking, and so on. Online focus groups alleviate this by permitting respondents, moderators and clients to interact from the comfort of their own home.

Online respondents do not need to commit as large a block of time out of their day to deal with travel to a facility. Instead, online market research is completed quickly and painlessly. Participants enter virtual focus group rooms that may be text-based or that use phone/webcam in order to provide vital feedback that companies can use for everything from product tweaks to their next advertising campaign.

Online Research Elicits More Accurate Responses

Face-to-face interviews may be intimidating to participants who are self-conscious in group settings or who are uncomfortable speaking candidly to a researcher. We find that many people are more comfortable sharing their opinions electronically rather than the awkwardness or contentiousness that can result from an in-person focus group. There is a good chance your respondents will provide better quality and more truthful answers online. Also, multi-day bulletin-board style discussions allow respondents to answer in as much detail as they wish rather than being under the time-pressure of a face-to-face group and having to take turns.

Finally, research discussions related to medical or other very personal concerns may be too embarrassing for candid disclosure in a face-to-face setting. For this reason, people may shy away from an invitation to join an in-person focus group centered on these topics. Instead, online focus groups give participants the freedom to open up about their feelings and situations, so that clients get the honest information they need to the key insights which will lead to the success of their products and/or services.

Learn more about how online market research will benefit your organization by contacting an e-Focus Groups representative today at (707) 585-7363.

hen your company is in the market research phase of product development, or just want to solicit feedback from loyal consumers to help improve your brand, it is necessary to find a method that allows for both you and your audience to work as efficiently as possible. Market research and focus groups help your business connect with your consumers outside of the usual company-customer relationship. Online focus groups create a comfortable environment for participants so you can get the honest information you need for your organization. Your company can also realize a number of benefits that will aid your efforts moving forward.

Online Research Saves You Money

One of the toughest things to do when conducting face-to-face interviews is finding a large and diverse sample size to get the highest level of accuracy in your findings. This costs a good amount of time and money, because you need to employ a research team, send them to various locations around the country, and pay for expensive materials and survey equipment. Online research is beneficial in this regard in a number of ways, including the following:

  • Cheaper to conduct surveys online
  • Don’t need to pay for a survey moderator or third-party staff
  • No need to send a client team around the country

As a result, you see significant savings without sacrificing the quality of data you are able to collect.

Online Research Enhances Participant Comfort

A main reason that organizations have trouble finding the amount of willing participants they need to conduct thorough research is that surveys can be an inconvenience. Face-to-face interviews done outside of a retail location may be rushed because consumers have other things they need to get done on a busy day. Online focus groups alleviate this by permitting survey moderators and participants to interact from the comfort of their own home.

For the respondent, this also means that they do not need to travel to a research facility or commit blocks of their time to assist your company with its research. Instead, online market research is completed quickly and painlessly. Participants enter virtual focus groups that are either text-based or which include video chats in order to provide vital feedback that companies can use for everything from product tweaks to their next advertising campaign.

Online Research Elicits More Accurate Responses

When conducting face-to-face interviews, it may be intimidating to participants who may not want to speak so candidly to a researcher. Anonymous or not, people are more comfortable sharing their opinions electronically rather than the awkwardness or contentiousness that can result from an in-person focus group. Your respondents will provide better quality and more truthful answers online.

In addition, some research that relates to medical or personal information is embarrassing for people to speak about. For this reason, people may shy away from an invitation to join an in-person focus group centered on these topics. Instead, online focus groups give participants the freedom to open up about their feelings and reality, so that organizations get the honest information they need that will be helpful in the future.

Learn more about how online market research will benefit your organization by contacting an e-Focus Groups representative today at (707) 585-7363.

Market Research Online

Why Conduct Online Focus Groups

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.

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