Focus groups, which are easily five-figure marketing expenses, are not embraced by all. Those that do understand the value of focus groups know that getting a focus group together is always a challenge and requires a lead time to find and attract qualified participants.
Likewise, it takes time to get observers assembled at the same time, behind the mirror to see what’s going on. And on many occasions, someone who could not be there during the live event is left with a video to review at their own convenience, and that video may not always be of the best quality. And sometimes “at their own convenience” occurs much later than should be.
Qualitative data can become more valuable when there are more people analyzing it, so why not maximize the number of people who can view a focus group live? And since the real estate behind the mirror is limited, why not incorporate focus groups into the network-centric way of performing marketing?
Basically, it’s a matter of webcasting the focus group with the appropriate audience of the enterprise’s analysts, marketing managers, product managers, or other principals and stakeholders. How hard can that be? The Marketing Consigliere was recently reading the print edition of Marketing News, published by the American Marketing Association, and he only saw one advertisement for such services.
FocusVision Worldwide offers such a service by videostreaming live focus groups to observers, wherever they are via the Internet. And with digital video, pertinent clips can be captured, stored, and shared later. This form of C4ISR Marketing should be exploding – it’s an off-the-shelf capability for all.
And do the focus group participants always have to be in a room together? With the Internet, smaller groups can be clustered at various geographic locations and monitored. Instead of the petty cash headache of monitoring the crisp one hundred dollar bills handed out, why not immediately send something like an electronic Amazon.com gift certificate upon completion of the focus group?
Should all focus groups be net-centric? Not necessarily, like any resource, there are tradeoffs when you choose one over another. If you are already conducting focus groups, then it’s a no-brainer to expand the value of the event by making it net-centric and make it an option.