“Focus groups are dead”…
“They’re boring”…
“They’re unreliable”…

We don’t believe any of these things to be true of course, although focus groups can indeed be ‘boring’ and they might also be ‘unreliable’ – if done badly, by inexperienced researchers – or simply taken at face value.

This is true of many things but a bad experience from a poorly qualified provider shouldn’t mean entirely turning your back on a technique which – like any– has its pros and cons. Group discussions are still unbeatable for some projects and respondent types – yet unsuitable for others. A mix of different techniques – both online and face-to-face, traditional and ‘new wave’ will typically deliver the best of both/all worlds. It’s not ‘either or’, rather ‘this and that’.

Just as combining quantitative and qualitative methods can reveal different types of insight, so too can a mix of online qual. plus groups or depths, and stakeholder, or co-creation workshops.

This ‘bricolage’ approach enables us to reveal more – and deeper – consumer truths – and importantly, better enables us to use those truths to shape strategy and commercial decision-making. We’ve never believed in simply feeding back to clients what consumers tell or show us – rather, we think carefully about the implications of our insights to drive brand growth.

Creating headlines

Shocking statements make great headlines and with increasing noise from multiple channels and social media, it’s inevitable that to get cut through people are being more provocative (just ask Donald Trump). It does infuriate us, however, when sweeping statements are made about valuable tools.

Agencies who claim they “never do group discussions any more” are simply limiting their ability to offer the best approach for a job. A group is only a means to an end after all and no one technique is going to be perfect for every project, every time.

So you’ll never hear us denigrate a research technique – rather, we’ll advise you as to the best approach for each project’s unique business challenge. And we’ll also explain why we are recommending the methods we do.