Online focus groups are now generating interest within the larger marketing industry. A major element of qualitative research, focus groups inform analysts of a larger market’s interests and concerns. Traditionally, focus group market research requires a budget that covers facility rentals, travel, and other expenses. The more areas the study covers, the more time and money it demands. Such logistics require time, and insight via traditional qualitative research usually takes months of processing. Online options, meanwhile, reduce such costs to a fifth while also minimizing turnaround times.
Market expectations are changing faster, and ditto for concerns. Examining these perspectives on any truly detailed level, however, requires faster data collection. Online focus group research goes at the pace of the 21st century customer, informing design of the immediate market and their concerns. Production methods that incline to these market demands, such as Agile processes, can now work with far more thorough customer input. Those testing product or content from more traditional processes, meanwhile can now access customer input days after initiation, not weeks.
21st Market Expectations: Pressures in Contemporary Agile Methods
Keeping pace with the general market is a necessity. Each trend, meme, or other big splash is an opportunity, one that online focus group research helps developers explore. Relevency is at a premium. Focus groups, online or off, help ensure that products and content hit home. Quantitative research, longtime companion to Agile developers, allows development to gauge overall post-release reception and behavior. However, developers must guess why customers are reacting. More intrinsically, they must also guess how to best improve the given product. Online focus group research provides answers and information where only guesses existed before.
Critical for a successful release, immediate customer concerns will always impact product reception. Candy sales crescendo every Halloween, consumer spending peaks in the holiday season, etc. Unlike ever before, developers can test content or products that references yesterday’s news -literally. 21st century customer engagement and qualitative input are no longer mutually exclusive. Developers can remain relevant while also making more informed decisions. Products and content on the fringes of release is testable, offering input that leads to far more productive decision regarding changes or release dates. Designers can take more risks without increasing the probability, and do so at times suitable to their own schedule. Similarly, content can reference immediate events and test for effectiveness before release. More engagement, less hazard, and streamlined production are the ultimate benefits.
Learning More with Less Effort
Knowing what customers want in intrinsic to productivity and success. Qualitative research’s role in design is becoming vastly more open-ended, enabling organizations to gather on-demand input at vital junctures. Likewise, production cycles benefit from greater cohesion with research output, be it Agile or otherwise. Find out more about implementing online focus groups by visiting a few of our other posts or contacting us.
Zach Simmons is the Founder and president of Discuss.io. Zach has 20 years of experience building software. Prior to founding Discuss.io, he was the Technical Product Manager for Amazon Web Services (S3) where he ran the team that built the infrastructure that now powers a significant percentage of the modern Internet. Zach holds an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
An entrepreneurial leader, Zach is passionate about building disruptive and agile SaaS based market research startups as an alternative to traditional market research. Seeing a need for change within the Industry, Zach launched Discuss.io, bringing Market Research to the digital age.