Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Probe for Intentions in Focus Groups

Depth-oriented focus groups aim to identify consumers’ secret motivations by climbing deep into the subconscious minds of the group members. In my experience, depth-oriented focus groups can provide manufacturers and merchants with a compelling retailer’s edge.
     At the same time, in my opinion, conducting this market research technique requires thorough training in psychology. Among other things, I’ve occasionally seen instances where the digging into the subconscious then requires emotional decompression before sending the focus group participant back into the night.
     Even if you agree with my opinion, you’ll still need enough expertise to oversee the focus group facilitator. My primary advice parallels what I say about other market research techniques for which you hire an outsider because of required technical expertise: When the conclusions from the project don’t make good sense to you based on your experiences as a retailer, start out by asking yourself if you might have misunderstood what the consultant said or you might have been blind to factors the consultant discovered.
     The most valuable conclusions from retailing consultants lead to you saying, “Yes, now I see what I hadn’t recognized before.” However, if you decide you did understand the consultant correctly, you weren’t blind to important factors, and the conclusions don’t ring true, then consider what the consultant is telling you as having a high nonsense potential.
     With depth-oriented focus groups, another error I’ve noticed is a failure of the consultant to attend to the participants’ purchase intentions. So much attention is devoted to the emotional drivers and the subconscious beliefs, the facilitator overlooks the payoff theme: Where will these people make their purchases?
     Beliefs will be assessed beginning with probes such as, “To what degree do their sales staff want to get you the right product for your needs?” Feelings will be assessed starting with probes like, “When you buy a product there, how confident are you that you’ve made a good decision” But as you’re watching the video of the focus group, do you see the prelude to the money shot with a probe like, “Next time you need a product carried by that store, how likely are you to shop there?”
     Those probes are at the surface. But each determines what you’ll dig up. For your business to reach its full potential, explore all three areas via the depth-oriented focus group. Know your potential customers’ beliefs and feelings, and their intentions.

For your profitability: Sell Well: What Really Moves Your Shoppers

Click below for more:
Call on Structural Equation Modeling
Interpret Survey Results as a Retailer

No comments:

Post a Comment