Marketing Minute

Use Focus Groups to Plan for the Future

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The most successful tech companies in the world are masters at gathering data on their customers. These companies realize the importance of using focus groups to understanding consumer behavior, and know that this data also helps them plan for the future.

For a rural service provider, because of the relatively small customer base, focus groups are a better value than a traditional survey. Focus groups are discussions that can capture the emotional aspects of what a customer thinks about your company’s products and services. Here are some tips for conducting focus groups:

Establish an objective – What information do you want from the focus group, for example, if you are thinking about separating internet from your landline, but don’t want to let the cat of the bag, frame your questioning around usage of their phone service. Ask questions on what they could do to motivate them to use their landline more, or for that matter plugging it in. You may find during the discussion the biggest issue is that the majority of the calls are from telemarketers, in which case you may be able offer a solution in the future.

Incentives – Payment and a meal makes it easier for you to select candidates who will give you the best information. There is nothing wrong with being selective with your participants if you know that their character and honesty will give you accurate responses.

Prepare and practice – Keep the topic questions fairly narrow in order to collect qualitative results that you can put into an action. Proper moderation and management of the conversation is crucial to the success of your focus group. Do a practice run with others from your team.

Recording – Recording of your group is really important to ensure that you don’t miss any comments from the group. Just record the audio and assure them that you are not recording their faces as most people are not comfortable with this.

You are invited to contact Melissa Waddell or Scott Meyer if you have any marketing questions about Innovative Systems Voice and Video products at 605-995-6120

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