Focus Groups can do one thing better than any quantitative research technique: observe human emotions. They are the technique of choice when the understanding of feelings, perceptions, opinions and attitudes are the research objectives. Individuals, not companies, departments or committees, make decisions about what products and services they buy. People vote, veto and influence each other to form consensus positions. Yet, the basic component of these buying processes remains the individual, and the individual is always most highly motivated by personal agenda.
The subjective evaluation of risk versus reward most often shapes a person’s true position in many buying situations. The individual will evaluate the consequential risks and rewards of voting, vetoing or otherwise going on record in the buying process, all of which will affect his/her next performance and salary review, internal prestige and future marketability. Focus Groups are vastly superior to other data gathering methodologies in yielding the truth about what people really feel and, therefore, may be expected to act on. This deeper level of understanding stems from a number of attributes and characteristics of focus group methodology.
Establishment of a Controlled Environment: Since the research takes place in a focus group facility, not the individual’s office, interruptions and other disruptions are eliminated. More important, removed from the inhibitors of the workplace, the individual can be much more effectively encouraged to express personal opinions, which are often at odds with organizational policy and procedure.
Invoking Adversarial Conditions: The merits of ideas and opinions as well as the degree to which individuals will cling to those ideas can be effectively tested by subjecting them to peer review and criticism. The forming of consensus positions forged through debate accurately simulates the evaluation and decision making process that occurs within the buying organizations in the marketplace. The dissenting or outlier opinions are often of more value to the client than the consensus.
Exploring Causal Relationships: The questioning and challenging process leading to consensus is most powerful in its ability to tie opinions and positions to real issues and concerns. Desired features and functions can be linked to real or perceived benefits, while surface issues are often symptomatic of more fundamental technological, organizational or individual problems.
Simulating New or Hypothetical Scenarios: Assessing the new and unfamiliar often requires a preliminary interactive educational or explanatory effort. Focus Groups easily support this requirement by enabling a more accurate evaluation of the level of interest of new product or service concepts or hypothetical market, industry, technological or economic conditions. This is especially true for emerging products and services.
Daniel Research Group is uniquely qualified to service technology clients. We are, first and foremost, a technology market research organization and always prepare for assignments with extensive background research in the relevant technology and market issues. Many of our consultants have held product marketing and strategic planning positions with technology vendors. Having once faced the decisions and pressures that our clients now face has given us an understanding and sensitivity to their concerns that others, without this experience, cannot call upon. Our qualifications manifested themselves in four key areas that contribute to the success or our engagements:
- Designing a research plan based on an understanding of the technologies, markets and issues to be addressed.
- Recruiting the respondents best able to provide the information required.
- Moderating the focus group to extract the maximum amount of relevant information.
- Analyzing the results and providing insightful conclusions leading to actionable and implementable recommendations.
The Knowledge Base - For almost three decades Daniel Research Group has conducted enterprise and consumer market research studies covering a wide range of technology products and services. This knowledge base supports every Focus Group project.
Setting Objectives - Each Focus Group project begins with an interactive process with the client to set research objectives. Most often this is via an exploratory meeting where the decisions facing the client are used to define the information requirements. Our research team will prepare for this meeting with extensive background research centered on the relevant technological and marketing issues.
The Moderator - Daniel Research Group moderators are experienced technology industry consultants able to conduct Focus Groups among a wide range of consumer and business constituencies. In addition to being research professionals with advanced academic degrees, our team possesses extensive industry experience with vendors prior to becoming consultants. Our moderators understand the technology, the market and the issues.
Analysis - The video recordings and audio transcripts of the Focus Groups are analyzed by the full research team. If required, additional Daniel Research Group experts may be called upon to review and interpret Focus Group proceedings, assuring that the full Daniel Research Group knowledge base is utilized to meet the research objectives.