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Focus Group Testing Ban (and some better alternatives)

Focus Group Testing Ban (and some better alternatives) | Marketing Research | Scoop.it
Thinking of doing a focus group? Focus group testing turns out to be a very poor tool for consumer insight. Here's why, and some better alternatives.
Joachim Scholz, PhD's insight:

It is no secret that I am no big fan of focus group. This article does a really good job in listing some points why: Focus groups are prone to social bias and do not deliver findings that are giving you any deep insights. Focus groups are conducted in an artificial environment and emphasize rational decision making far more than you will see it happening "in the wild". Thus, focus groups are more like a less stringent survey done in a group, which is a very uncomfortable and dangerous hybrid between quantitative and qualitative methods. 

 

Instead, you might want to create deep consumer insights through long interviews or persona modeling, or get a better understanding of how consumers act through observational methods.

 

Read the full article for a case study that tells you how persona modelling fared in comparison to focus group insights.

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Martin (Marty) Smith's curator insight, December 4, 2013 11:31 PM

Agree with we've reached the point of diminishing return on focus group testing. Here are some excellent and better alternatives. 

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Lessons from New Product Launches--Cell Zone to iPad

Joan Schneider and Julie Hall of Schneider Associates, coauthors of the HBR article "Why Most Product Launches Fail," explain how to attract and maintain con...
Joachim Scholz, PhD's insight:

In this interview with Harvard Business Review, product launch experts Schneider and Hall discuss what makes a product launch successful, and what are the trapfalls to avoid. There are several implications for Marketing Research in this interview. For example, one thing Schneider and Hall emphasize (around 4:30) is to monitor trends. In their example, a product to allow people to have private cell-phone conversation (cell zone) should have paid more attention to the rising trend of texting. Back in the day, texting was for kids, but as kids grew into adults, the cell zone had lost mass appeal before it even took off. Another important aspect for launching successful products is to have a market (around 8:00). While this is an obvious statement, the Marketing Research implication here is that with social media it has become easier to gauge the market, to see whether there is an interest early on.

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How Companies Learn Your Secrets

How Companies Learn Your Secrets | Marketing Research | Scoop.it
Your shopping habits reveal even the most personal information — like when you’re going to have a baby.
Joachim Scholz, PhD's insight:

This is a great article detailing different ways how companies do marketing research in practice - with astonishing results! The first part of the article describes how Target engages in some data mining of consumer habits in order to figure out who of their customers are in an early stage of their pregnancy. The idea is to capture these consumers early, while they are forming new habits. 

 

While this is a great example of using secondary data, the article later discusses how P&G employed qualititative research methods (lead by a Harvard Business School professor - Susan Fournier, is that you?) to solve a problem for Febreze's. In their first campaign, P&G addressed people directly about the bad smells in their environment. This didn't work. From the article:

 

"The reason Febreze wasn’t selling, the marketers realized, was that people couldn’t detect most of the bad smells in their lives. If you live with nine cats, you become desensitized to their scents. If you smoke cigarettes, eventually you don’t smell smoke anymore. Even the strongest odors fade with constant exposure. That’s why Febreze was a failure. The product’s cue — the bad smells that were supposed to trigger daily use — was hidden from the people who needed it the most. And Febreze’s reward (an odorless home) was meaningless to someone who couldn’t smell offensive scents in the first place.

 

P.& G. employed a Harvard Business School professor to analyze Febreze’s ad campaigns. They collected hours of footage of people cleaning their homes and watched tape after tape, looking for clues that might help them connect Febreze to people’s daily habits. When that didn’t reveal anything, they went into the field and conducted more interviews. A breakthrough came when they visited a woman in a suburb near Scottsdale, Ariz., who was in her 40s with four children. Her house was clean, though not compulsively tidy, and didn’t appear to have any odor problems; there were no pets or smokers. To the surprise of everyone, she loved Febreze."

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