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Focus Groups: From Screening to Seating NorthWest MRA 2008 Spring Educational Conference Portland, Oregon May 8, 2008.

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Presentation on theme: "Focus Groups: From Screening to Seating NorthWest MRA 2008 Spring Educational Conference Portland, Oregon May 8, 2008."— Presentation transcript:

1 Focus Groups: From Screening to Seating NorthWest MRA 2008 Spring Educational Conference Portland, Oregon May 8, 2008

2 / BNRESEARCH 2 What you are witnessing is real, the participants are not actors... The facility director: Gary Frazier Oversees qualitative recruit and focus group facility for BNResearch in downtown Portland. The moderator: Amanda Durkee Conducts focus groups for high-tech industry clients of Zanthus, a custom primary research firm.

3 / BNRESEARCH 3 What we hope you’ll learn today... Staging in-person focus groups is fairly straightforward, but more art than science. Many moving parts (respondents, facility details). Don’t always end up exactly as planned. Proactive, frequent communication between moderators and facilities helps smooth the process. We will provide behind-the-scenes perspective from a facility and moderator on the level of communication needed to ensure a successful project. Outcomes: Develop best practices in moderator-facility communication. Develop best practices in end-client focus group service.

4 / BNRESEARCH 4 Act 1: The Proposal Act 2: Recruitment Act 3: Day of the Groups Main Acts of a “Typical” Focus Group Project

5 / BNRESEARCH 5 Act 1: The Proposal Act 2: Recruitment Act 3: Day of the Groups Main Acts of a “Typical” Focus Group Project

6 / BNRESEARCH 6 Act 1: The Proposal The end-client gets the ball rolling with RFP It all begins with the end-client request for proposal (RFP) detailing: Study background and objectives Target audience(s) incidence, specifications Timeline Budget Response entails a thoroughly thought-out response to ensure paremeters are realistic and achievable. Look to facility to partner...challenge study details and provide accurate cost estimate.

7 / BNRESEARCH 7 Act 1: The Proposal The moderator turns to the facility to get costs and availability Moderator’s RFP to the facility should be complete and detailed. Give me all you’ve got – there’s no such thing as too much information. In lieu of complete information, include a statement of things that may change or still be considered. Reasonable turn-around time.

8 / BNRESEARCH 8 Act 1: The Proposal An example of a good moderator’s RFP We would like you to provide costs for fielding and recruiting the following study no later than Friday, May 23. In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions. Consumer Prospects: 2 groups; recruit 8 to seat 6 per group “Cultural Creatives & Environmentally-receptive consumers” (as outlined below.) Characteristics - Consumers o Group 1: Cultural Creatives (3 groups; recruit 8 to seat 6) Age yrs. 50/50 M/F Current resident of the Portland metro area Strongly agree with at least 3 of 5 defining statements o Group 2: Environmentally-receptive general public (1 group; 8 to seat 6) Age yrs. 50/50 M/F Current resident of the Portland metro area Strongly Agree/Agree with at least 3 of 4 defining statements: Business Prospects: 1 group; recruit 8 to seat 6 Characteristics - Business prospects Current corporate transportation coordinator at Portland- metro based company with 50+ employees (list to be provided) Incentives – Please suggest Group length – 2 hours Timing - Recruit: week of 6/23 & 6/30; Field: 7/7, 7/8, 7/9 Recruit type – Facility database

9 / BNRESEARCH 9 Act 1: The Proposal A example of a bad moderator RFP Number of groups: 1 (n=12) & 6 triads Number of recruits: 12 Start recruiting: Monday 1/14 Group dates: Monday 1/14 – Tuesday 1/15 Group times: To be determined Screener: To be developed by (a competitor in our area) Audience: Technically Advanced Professionals and Technically advanced youths Incentives: You recommend

10 / BNRESEARCH 10 Act 1: The Proposal Act 2: Recruitment Act 3: Day of the Groups Main Acts of a “Typical” Focus Group Project

11 / BNRESEARCH 11 Act 2: Recruitment The screener lays the foundation... The screener is the basis for recruitment. Includes a compelling introduction and invitation script. Termination points are up front, yet questions follow a logical flow. Explicitly spells out group specifications, quotas before the introduction. Minimizes ambiguity—but allows for flexibility.

12 / BNRESEARCH 12 Act 2: Recruitment The briefing brings it all together A phone briefing will help get the process off to a solid start. Include project moderator, field director, and possibly also recruiting staff. Important to make sure moderator, field director are on the same page—understand study specs, timing, etc. Agree on acceptable recruiting methods. Phone, , ad posting (e.g., Craigslist)? Database, RDD or client-provided list? Establish environment of open, honest communication. Problems? Let’s solve ‘em together! Set expectations for communication—how, who, and when?

13 / BNRESEARCH 13 Act 2: Recruitment Profile sheet is an important reference tool—not just for recruiting! A note on privacy: no last names or contact info on profiles! For more information about privacy laws, go to See “MRA Code of Marketing Ethics” under “Research Resources.”www.mra-net.org

14 / BNRESEARCH 14 Have a plan Be willing to change strategies – stubbornness won’t help. Sense danger – why aren’t people qualifying? Have the information readily at hand. Provide moderator with solutions and ideas if groups aren’t filling. Act 2: Recruitment Troubleshooting

15 / BNRESEARCH 15 Act 1: The Proposal Act 2: Recruitment Act 3: Day of the Groups Main Acts of a “Typical” Focus Group Project

16 / BNRESEARCH 16 Act 3: Day of the Groups Showtime! Day of the groups is like a theater production—everything needs to go off without a hitch. Client comfort (room layout, temperature) Little personal touches are nice, e.g., dinner rec, fresh flowers. Facility calm and everything is “under control.” Food (snacks, dinner) Technology (internet access, working equipment)

17 / BNRESEARCH 17 Act 3: Day of the Groups Respondent happiness is equally important Respondent comfort is also important—even though they need to be processed, they shouldn’t feel “processed.” Entertainment while they wait. Provide context for waiting tasks (e.g., re-screening, homework). Greeting and waiting area relaxed and calm. They’re not focus group experts...tell them what to expect.

18 / BNRESEARCH 18 Act 3: Day of the Groups I get by with a little help from my friends... There are a few things facilities can do to make the moderator’s life a little easier. Have materials, equipment prepared ahead of time. Assist with copies, assembling last- minute materials. Periodically respondent arrival alerts. Help clean up after groups.

19 / BNRESEARCH 19  Do: Appear prepared “everything is fine!” Provide ample client food & drink options. Have materials ready. End clients, moderators and respondents are all our guests. Check in periodically. Act 3: Day of the Groups Some facility guidelines for success  Don’t: Appear to be disorganized/flustered. Point; Assume guests know where things are. Hover. Forget about the respondents.

20 / BNRESEARCH 20 After the curtain has closed... It’s too easy to move on to the next project...so don’t forget to debrief! What went well? What could be improved? Don’t burn any bridges—give constructive feedback. Set a goal for yourself of making one improvement with each project.

21 / BNRESEARCH 21 Ideas?

22 Questions? Amanda Durkee, PRC Senior Research Consultant Zanthus 115 S.W. Ash St., Suite 610 Portland, OR x104 Gary Frazier Field Director BNResearch 1220 SW Morrison, Suite 425 Portland, OR


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