Tacos+Beer=Focus group

Me and my advertising brothers and sisters have been in some focus groups. Maybe too many. We've watched them from the secret side of the one-way glass and we've watched them in little internet windows as they take place halfway across the country. No matter how we watch them we often come to the same conclusion: These focus groups that are supposed to bring clarity to a body of work somehow manage to create anything but. So, it's with all this focus group baggage on our back that we planned for our first Opposite focus group. My big question was do you need a focus group expert to run a focus group?

Having never run a focus group we weren't so sure how to plan for it. So we did what we imagine the experts do, we made it up as we went along. How hard could it be? The guidelines seem pretty obvious: Get some people that rep your target, present the idea, keep them talking.

We did put together a few of our own guidelines (that may or may not be official strat-guy approved) to help us get what we wanted out of the 2 hour focus group. Here they are:

1) Keep the group off-guard to get the most our of their first impressions.

2) No strangers in the group, we introduced everyone at some length to get them asking each other questions.

3) It should be fun; food, beer and some good conversation helped loosen things up and these strangers were sharing business cards and lingering long after the session was over.

The end result of our first focus group is that it worked great. There were brilliant insights from the group, we realized some danger zones in our idea that we will avoid and we got some great validation. Now I'm sure some triple degreed European genius out there innovating the focus group philosophy would wince at our quick and to the point approach, they might have 100 guidelines instead of 3. They might claim you need to be a descendent of Freud to successfully run a focus group. As far as I can tell, you don't need much fanciness at all, just some beer and tacos. Outside of that, you can just make it up as you go along.

A special thanks to the adventurous souls that gave up a Thursday night to break down this app we're working on. Ya'll were awesome.

Categories: Apps Ideas iPhone Process Testing


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