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"If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses."
- Henry Ford
Focus groups are frequently used to predict consumer reactions to things like movies, tv shows, and new products, but focus groups have a track record full of failures. So why do we keep using them?
According to Daniel Gross, focus groups have become ingrained into our approval process more for the sake of decision makers than for the sake of consumers. Focus groups have fixed costs, are timely, and most often used to affirm preconceived notions: "See, they agree!"
What focus groups don't do is accurately predict how consumers will react. According to Gerald Zaltman, author of How Customers Think, 80% of new products fail within the first six months, many of which go through focus groups.
So, why do focus groups fail? Focus groups fail because:
- People can't predict what they want and don't understand their own motives for making decisions.
- Consumers have other motivations for answering and participating in the group than contributing to the end product.
- Focus groups address symptomatic, surface level issues rather than the root problem.
- The social dynamics of a focus group have an effect on people's answers. Whether it's because they desire to maintain their image, give the appropriate answer, or just fit in, people often lie when they are put in situations with strangers and asked questions.
- Focus groups assume consumer input is valid, regardless of the individual's relevant knowledge or experience.
Check back next Monday for some good reads and visuals, or follow us on Delicious for a heavier load.
There's a new tradition at NeboWeb, and it combines our three greatest passions -- food, thinking, and the web -- all into one exciting weekly morning get together. Each week we'll be having a "Brains and Bagels" cross-functional training session to keep our colleagues educated on the various workings of the office, and we'll treat ourselves to some bagels too, because, well mainly just because we like bagels.
This week's Brains and Bagels session incorporated a high level overview of PPC marketing mixed with a more detailed introduction to creating a successful AdWords campaign. The goal of these sessions is to raise awareness in various departments on what the other departments are doing. That being said, this presentation isn't aimed at PPC marketers, but rather designers, developers, copywriters etc. If that sounds like you, or you're just interested in PPC marketing, enjoy!