Focus Groups

The ROI team, led by Bruce Cameron, has been conducting and analyzing focus groups for creative agencies and end clients for over two decades. But during that time, the way in which focus groups are conducted, and how the results are applied, have changed considerably.

Traditionally, focus groups consisted of convening sessions with 10-12 carefully selected consumers, led by a trained moderator, to determine people’s reactions to creative concepts and messages.

Now, technology has changed to the point where test participants can join in remotely via their computer from the comfort of their home or office. Clients can also listen and watch from any location with high speed internet access. This “remote viewing” technology is available in many North American cities, but the question remains: while it may be more efficient, is it any more insightful?

That depends on what is being tested and who is doing the testing.

Focus groups are a good tool for qualitatively assessing reactions. In other words, they act as a directional (not definitive) guide to making adjustments to advertising strategy and tactics. Because they are a directional tool, the real value of conducting a series of focus
groups comes from the wisdom, insight and ability of the chosen moderator to identify those illusive “aha!” moments when a new idea emerges from seemingly nowhere. And it is those “aha” moments that are trickier to generate and identify without personal human contact.

Another thing that has changed is how focus group techniques are applied to the creative development process. Gone are the days of “disaster testing” (measuring which one of several executions worked best, and ditching or shelving the non-performing ads). That reactive approach has been almost totally replaced by a much more collegial and consensus oriented approach toward consumers.

Consumers want to participate in the brand building exercise as never before. And thoughtfully executed focus groups can provide the perfect opportunity to do just that.

That is why ROI developed tools like the Advertising Impact Model to allow input from each individual in addition to watching how the group dynamic unfolds. This adaptable tool can be applied in virtual online focus groups, or the more personal, collaborative “old school” in-person focus groups.

The experts at ROI have the tools and the judgment to turn your next focus group project into your very own “aha” moment.