How to Do a Focus Group at your Next Event (and Why)
by Chris Clegg
A consumer event is great a place for any brand to participate. Where else can you engage consumers around your value proposition where they live, work, and play? Fairs and festivals, NASCAR and the PGA, wine tastings and the mall – all are opportunities to connect with consumers on the level of lifestyle and shared values.
This is why event and experiential marketing work so well. You’ve not only got the halo of the event experience itself but you’ve also got an opportunity to propel consumers through the purchase cycle of need, awareness, trial, and purchase at an accelerated rate regardless of where they start off. What better way to educate a confused consumer on the value proposition than a highly trained (often attractive) ambassador? How better to get that target consumer past their reluctance to buy than to taste the product risk free?
Why participate at an event?
It is in this environment that you have the greatest opportunity to uncover consumer insights. You can evaluate how they respond to your footprint and how they think about the brand category, the competition, and the brand itself.
We pay upwards of $5,000 to get a dozen people into the same room to talk to us for 90 minutes. That’s just the raw facility and recruiting costs for a focus group. The research team’s fees are on top of that. At an event, on the other hand, you can all but eliminate this $5,000 bill and, in doing so, cut your focus group expense by 80%.
Why have a focus group?
There are few better ways to uncover what’s going on with your brand than to get a bunch of people who have some connection in a room where they can interact and have a conversation about your brand. You’ll learn that they engage the category in ways you never imagined. That they have uses for your brand that you never would have guessed. You’ll learn the reasons they choose you over the competition or why they believe the competition is the better option.
It doesn’t have to be just those focus items. You can learn a lot of things. Instead of spending $20,000 for other research you can get it for less than half the price. You’re making the most of your event presence with a focus group.
Don’t over think it. When you identify the type of people that fit your research profile, engage them with a brief screening survey. If they qualify, invite them to to participate in a special conversation with six to eight other people about the brand. Offer a $100 incentive for them to do so. Do this with a dozen people. Eight to ten will show up. Choose six to eight that just feel right.(Pay the two you dismiss the $100 they would have received anyway). Find a quiet space and let your hired moderator work his magic.