What are you doing and why are you doing it? These are the two questions that must be answered before you start any project, and all the answers can be found by looking at your target audiences. If you don’t know what they want, you’re not going to make it very far.
Luckily, you don’t have to be telepathic to find out what your audience is thinking!
Third-party facilitated focus groups allow companies to have open eyes, ears and mind when it comes to gauging external and internal opinions about their brand, products and/or services.
We’ve had clients pursue focus groups before launching a variety of marketing projects—product launch, employee engagement campaign, brand assessment, direct mail push and more. We’d love to go into the details of each of these projects, but to keep it brief, we’ve narrowed it to down to our three biggest reasons for using focus groups:
1. Your Customers
When customers look at your brand, what do they see? What words do they associate with the products or services you offer? To answer questions like these, a focus group can be vital. Key takeaways from customer focus groups, such as the words and concepts they most associate with your brand, show how customers perceive your brand’s identity. If your messaging is off, a customer focus group is sure to reveal that blind spot.
Focus groups also can be a great tool in gauging customer satisfaction. The discussions that arise from such groups allow for plenty of nuance – what are customers satisfied with? What aren’t they satisfied with? Do you only have little fixes to make, or is it time for a larger strategic change?
Ultimately, all of these questions force you to think about the main issue that customer focus groups can help you tackle: gaps between your internal and external perspectives. Too often, we can get immersed in a workplace bubble, always focused on our opinions and how we perceive our messaging. It doesn’t matter what we like, however, if our customers don’t respond to it. Focus groups can help find places where brand strategy and messaging isn’t resounding with your audience and help to bring the internal and external together, creating noticeably stronger messaging.
2. Your Employees
Remember the need to keep messaging consistent and understandable internally and externally? Your customers are a great indicator of what’s working in the public eye, but you can’t neglect how your messages play to an internal audience as well.
Employees are ambassadors for your brand at all times. And, satisfied employees create a great reputation for your company both on and off the clock.
Focus groups, led by a member of your HR or marketing team, or better yet by an impartial third-party representative like someone from Bottom Line, can draw out opinions from employees they’d be reticent to share in one-on-one sessions or regular business meetings. Discussions from these groups can give you an honest assessment of job satisfaction across your workplace and help identify trouble spots.
Just like customer focus groups can identify gaps between internal and external communications, employee focus groups can help employers find gaps between leadership and frontline perspectives. Without feedback from employees, leadership can get isolated in a feedback loop, only listening to the perspectives of other members of the leadership team. Don’t leave frontline employees out of the process—use a focus group to gain valuable insight, keeping them happy and making your brand stronger.
3. Your Public Perception
Internal and external communications are vital to monitor to know how customers and employees see your brand, but equally important is understanding how the public eye sees—or doesn’t see—your brand. When it comes to growth and awareness, public perception of your brand identity is vital.
Focus groups can help you manage your reputation in the market and better understand what attracts people to your brand or what’s pushing them away. Only focusing on the customers you already have can lead to stagnation and even loss of sales—focus groups can keep you up-to-date on what others see in your brand.
Want to stop guessing at what your target audiences are thinking? Contact the Bottom Line team to set up the focus group(s) your company needs.