Focus Group Facilitation
Matt Gagliardi
OISM 470W Section 3
Focus Group Facilitation
Getting Clear Insight to
How Customers Think
• What are Focus Groups?
• How Focus Groups are used in
Business and Government.
• Focus Group Creation and Use.
– How to properly create focus groups
– How to effectively use focus groups.
• Evaluating Results.
What are Focus
• Focus Groups are a group of
people, that are brought
together, and asked to share
their opinions about a product or
Where Focus Groups are
• Business Use
– Drive Marketing Strategies
• How customers think
• Government Use
– Forming election strategies
– Publishing trends
– Impeachment rhetoric
Creating Focus Groups
• Hiring outside consultants vs.
Internally established groups.
– Advantages
– Disadvantages
• Choosing a Moderator
• Internal vs. External
Hiring Consultants
• Hiring external Consulting
companies to establish and
moderate the focus group.
Advantages of
Limited knowledge of products
Will not make bias decisions
Have favorable results
Trained, experienced and
competent professional
Disadvantages of
• Expensive
• Unable to conduct groups on
your schedule
• Do not want to risk an
unsuccessful group
• “I am familiar with my product
and can ask the right questions”
Choosing a Moderator
• Someone who
knows how to
benefit from
group dynamics
• Can use
techniques that
reduce negative
influence or
Choosing a Moderator
• Can control the
dominant group
• Can motivate the
shy member to
• Use techniques to
extract the
maximum amount
of information
Internal Moderators
• Internal moderators can save
money, but can inhibit group
– Chance that participants will
refrain from showing concern or
acting negatively to ideas.
– Have great knowledge on product,
which could intimidate participants
External Moderators
• Extremely helpful in designing
• Professional moderators bring
experience from different
research situations
• Objective
• Able to extract a lot of
information from group
Facilitating Focus
• Key Concepts
• Advantages and Disadvantages
of use.
• Things to be careful of.
• New Technology.
Facilitating Focus
• Key Concept
– Explore a topic to form ideas, not
definitive answers.
• Focus groups provide insight in
exploratory work to help companies
realize the range of issues, perception
of these issues, and the intensity of
feelings of their customers.
Advantages of Focus
• There are only a limited number
of people asked to participate,
so participant downtime is
• Gives excellent insight onto
what customers believe.
• Low cost.
Disadvantages of Focus
• Yield a wide range of ideas on a
topic, not definitive answers
• Results could be misleading
• Only show a small percentage of
what population believes.
• Inexperienced moderators can
impair or ruin expected results
Things to be careful of
• As focus groups are relatively
expensive, companies must
make sure they get their monies
• Choosing and distinguishing
between good and bad group
New Technology
• New voting devices
– Participants can vote
confidentially to questions by
pressing buttons on a hand held
• Computers can instantly
process information for
immediate debate
Evaluating Results
• Establishing valid results from
Focus Group.
• Distinguishing between different
results to see what the
possibilities of advance are
Real world Examples
• “Focus groups were used to
provide strategic input to
elections of Prime Ministers and
presidents, feedback for action
by political groups or
• From this slide show, you should
have learned
– What Focus Groups Are
– How to Create and what to look for
in creating focus groups.
• Differences between Internal and
External focus groups.
• Advantages of hiring
• Choosing an effective moderator
• How to properly facilitate focus
• Things to be careful of when
using focus groups
• New technologies used
• Real world Examples of Focus
group use.
Works Cited
– Cowley, James. Anyone can run research
focus groups, right? Marketing News. V33
n5. Mar 1, 1999. P. 15
– Vincent, Lynn. 7 Deadly sins of focus
groups. Bank Marketing. V31 n5. May 1999
p 36-39
– Greenbaum, Thomas L. Doing your own
Focus Group is like fixing your own
plumbing. Marketing News. V25 n11. May
27, 1991. P. 8-9