Focus groups are an excellent tool for marketing and research professionals to use in gathering information and to uncover trends. The ultimate goal is to help companies sell products and services. Transcription services play a role in the success of focus groups by capturing every word spoken.
Focus groups are generally made up of individuals who fit specific targets related to the company products and services.
During the sessions, focus group participants are often in a room or setting to themselves, sometimes with a two-way mirror, although this is not a requirement. Participants are then asked to complete questionnaires or discuss topics or even take part in a specific activity. For example, a national bank asked the participants of its focus group to construct a vision board depicting their ideal retirement using materials the bank had provided. The participants were then asked to discuss their board and their retirement goals, answering questions from a facilitator. The group reactions and discussions were recorded on film and audio tape. The data was analyzed to determine what the bank needed to focus on to better serve their customers in their retirement planning.
When deciding how you should setup your focus group, here are some key decisions that should make up the planning:
Determine the number of the participants.
Decide the incentive you will offer the group.
Find a convenient, accessible and comfortable location for conducting the group.
Prepare questions/script and types of activities the group will be engaged in.
Select the participants for the group that best matches the information you are seeking. For instance, if you run a preschool and looking for ways you can better serve your families, you would contact parents of preschool age children to participate. Other groups would not be as useful.
Determine compensation for the participants. This will vary from time required to region of the country you are in.
Select a skilled facilitator or moderator who will be responsible for:explaining why the group is assembled – the focus group’s goal,establishing the ground rules for the group process,setting the tone,providing the time frame for the session – ideally 1 – 2 hours,creating the script, although this could fall to someone else,checking the recording process,having snacks or meals on hand for the group,providing feedback to the group, and thanking the group for their time and explaining when and how payment will occur.
Because participants are free to discuss their opinions and insights, and because focus groups are generally a part of your marketing planning, it is important to accurately capture the session(s). Consequently, one of the most important elements at the conclusion of the focus group is turning the audio tapes of the session into written documents so that the data is easily analyzed and, later, archived.
Choosing the right transcription service is as important as choosing the right participants and facilitator for the focus group. A highly qualified transcriber has the ability to discern accents and have a commanding grasp of English and grammer. Exceptional skill, accuracy and timeliness is at the core of your selection.
Have you used focus groups to help with your marketing plans? How do you think focus groups would benefit the growth of your business?