The Insider's Guide to Managing a Focus Group

Managing a focus group can seem like a daunting task. There are many pieces of a focus group that need to fall into place to ensure a successful market research project.

Looking for the ultimate guide to manage a focus group? Look no further!

The 9 tasks needed to ensure a successful focus group include (1) screener set up, (2) quota management, (3) client updates, (4) adjustments, (5) facility booking, (6) audio and visual needs, (7) refreshments, (8) confirmations to participants, and (9) reward payouts.

Two other major pieces of a focus group are creating the moderator's guide and moderating the focus groups. Both of these pieces are completed by a market research company. We've covered key steps to ensure success in these areas as well.

Here are tips to creating a focus group moderator's guide.

And, here are tips for moderating focus groups.

The Insider's Guide to Managing a Focus Group

Learn more about how to manage a focus group below! Here's the ultimate guide to managing a focus group!

#1: Screener Set Up

The first step to managing a focus group is creating the screener. Here is where a focus group company will work with the client to define the qualifications to participate in the focus group and discuss the ideal mix of participants.

For example, focus group qualifications may include seeking consumers with interest in a specific product or service, but clients may also seek a mix of ages, genders, races, political affiliation, and more.

Once these details have been finalized, the screener will be set up in a method ideal for the type of recruitment. Often times, focus group recruiting is done online so the screener will be programmed into online survey software.

Interested in learning more about focus group recruiting? Here's a complete guide on how to recruit for focus groups.

#2: Quota Management

The second step to manage a successful focus group is quota management. Once the screener has been finalized and qualifications have been determined the next step is to manage qualified participants.

For example, an organization may have 100 qualified participants, but that does not mean all recruits will be asked to participate in the focus groups. If the focus groups need to have a specific mix of other factors or demographics it's important to prioritize and identify which qualified participants should be contacted to reach the ideal mix.

Quota management is one of the more time intensive tasks when managing a focus group. Oftentimes, a recruit may feel broad in the beginning but can seem more difficult towards the end of recruitment if reaching a specific quota is difficult.

#3: Client Updates

The third step to manage a focus group is client updates. Transparency is key especially when managing a focus group. Regular updates to clients should be made to share progress on recruiting, overall project progress, and project next steps.

Once a focus group recruit has been finalized (or is nearly finalized) a list of recruits detailing their qualifications should be shared. However, the names and personal contact information for recruits should be omitted from these shared lists. Focus group participants will expect to have their personal contact information kept anonymous unless otherwise stated.

#4: Flexibility and Adjustments

The fourth step to manage focus groups is handling adjustments. Flexibility will be needed from both the market research company managing the focus groups and client. Oftentimes, with focus group projects, small details change. Whether adjustments need to be made to the screener, focus group times, focus group locations, etc., all involved in the project need to be flexible with minor adjustments.

#5: Facility Booking

The fifth step to manage focus groups is booking the facility. Trying to find the perfect space for focus groups? There are a few different options when it comes to booking a facility. Focus groups are often held in a focus group facility, but there are times when focus groups are done in a hotel conference room, library, or a similar venue.

When booking the facility consider several options and keep parking options, distance of travel for participants, and distance of travel for clients top of mind. It's important the facility is easy for participants and clients to get to with ample parking options.

#6: Audio and Visual Needs

The sixth step to managing focus groups is addressing audio and visual needs. Want to record the focus groups or share information with participants during the group in a presentation format? Audio and visual options include video recording, digital audio recording, live streaming, DVD and monitor, computer and monitor, projector screen, and more. Ensure all audio and visual needs during the group are met and recording options are confirmed before the focus groups.

#7: Food and Refreshments

The seventh step to managing a successful focus group project is ordering refreshments. Offering refreshments to participants and clients is common at focus groups. For an average focus group that is 1 to 2 hours in length refreshments include small sandwiches, fresh fruit, water, and coffee. Facilities and hotels often have different offerings and price points. Be sure to clarify what refreshments can be offered and the price point per person.

#8: Confirmations Sent to Participants

The eighth and arguably one of the most important steps to managing focus groups is sending confirmations to participants. A focus group recruit can span over the course of weeks, so it is important to keep participants engaged from the time they accept the invitation to participate in a focus group until the day of the focus group.

Drive Research recommends sending frequent confirmations to focus group participants. The first confirmation may come via email and ask the participant to reply back to re-confirm their interest in participating in the groups. Also, a reminder email can be sent to participants the week before the focus groups, a reminder call can be placed to all participants within 48 hours of the groups, and a reminder text can be sent to participants within 24 hours of the groups. The frequency of these confirmations help ensure a high turn out rate.

#9: Reward Payout

The ninth and final step to managing a focus group project is processing the rewards payouts to participants. This should happen promptly at the end of the focus group. The process typically includes handing the reward to each participant and asking them to sign a document indicating they received payment.

Contact Our Focus Group Company

Drive Research is a focus group company. Our full service market research company specializes in online surveys, in-depth interviews, intercept surveys, focus groups, market research recruiting, and more.

Wondering how to contact Drive Research? You can...

Message us on our website
Email us at [email protected]
Call us at 888-725-DATA
Text us at 315-303-2040

Focus Groups