With prospects and customers convened in a central location, conducting research at such conferences reduces normal recruitment, facility rental, and transportation costs typically associated with a focus group study. However, to keep costs down and also maximize the success of the on-site focus group, we always advise clients up-front that it’s important they commit internal resources to support some of the planning and execution.
As Market Connections recruits participants, develops the discussion guide, and manages other research-specific tasks, we guide our clients on the execution of:
- Scheduling options for maximizing attendance
- Room location and seating configuration
- Wording and timing of announcements and reminders prior to and during the event
- Arrangements for recording the sessions
- Signage/directions to the room
- Refreshments for participants
Active assistance by clients is critical to ensuring participants perceive the focus group as a primary conference goal of the organization rather than an after-thought. In fact, we even encourage clients to schedule representatives to direct participants to the focus group room.
After providing the man power and time to help execute the focus group, clients are very eager to observe the actual session. However, this is not a good idea. In order for participants to feel free to speak openly and honestly, it’s important the sponsor of the research not be present. Of course, at a professional research facility, the client representatives can observe behind the one-way mirror. But, such a set up is often not available at conference facilities. Unfortunately, that’s the compromise clients must make when opting to leverage the cost savings of holding focus groups at conference events. However, clients benefit from a more open and productive discussion free of the bias than may result if the sponsor is present in the room.