As part of our cross-country travel this week to both Chicago and Los Angeles for focus groups, it’s given me some time to catch up on some reading while in-flight. One book, that was purchased recently on behalf of RMS, was titled Secrets of a Master Moderator, written by Naomi Henderson from RIVA Market Research & Training Institute. A link for more information about the book can be viewed by clicking here. I have moderated many groups over the past few years at RMS, but I am always looking for fresh information and fresh articles on polishing my skills for both in-depth interviews (IDIs) and focus groups.
One of the more relevant sections that I read in the book was just a quick overview about trends with focus groups. I plan on recapping a few other portions of this good book in future blog posts but I figured some focus group trend overviews would be a good start to introducing this book and its concepts. Here are the top 12 focus group trends as listed in the Secrets of a Master Moderator:
- Group size is dropping from 10 to eight respondents as clients discover that more is not better and six is fast becoming the new eight. RMS Note: We have also found this to be true. In addition to smaller groups, we have also found that 90-minute sessions can be more appropriate than the standard 2-hour sessions. 90-minute sessions force a moderator to condense information, focus only on the important information and it also helps eliminate participant fatigue in market research.
- Mini-groups (four to six respondents) are on the increase for some types of studies.
- Dyiads (two respondents) and triads (three respondents) are replacing one-on-ones and in-depth interviews (IDIs) to maximize research schedules for observers.
- Moderators who work for the client company are on the rise to save the client money spent on renting third-party moderators or freelance moderators.
- Requests for PowerPoint presentations have been on the rise. RMS Note: We have covered this quite a bit on our blog. The days of long-winded and overly worded reports are over. Enter the new age of dashboards, story-telling and brief PowerPoint overviews in market research.
- Clients are asking moderators to not just accept top-of-mind responses and instead are asking moderators to dig deeper into second and third-level decision-making factors.
- Clients are becoming more savvy with focus group research and are asking for more creative activities in focus groups.
- More and more organizations are adding focus group research to research requirements to fully meet the needs of their targeted audience.
- Timing for focus groups and IDIs are no longer limited to evenings. Breakfast groups at 7:30 AM are common and Saturday groups with adults and kids are on the rise. Groups at conferences are also increasing in popularity.
- Payments to respondents are increasing and overall costs to conduct qualitative research are increasing. RMS Note: Need a reason to offer more for focus group incentives? Read this.
- Clients expect reports that are less of “what happened in the groups” and more of “what does it mean” insights.
- Demands for “master moderators” are on the increase. Clients want a wide variety of skills, experience and research on different types of products and services.
The author actually offered 16 trends, but I think these 12 were the most relevant so I eliminated four. Are you interested in conducting qualitative research with a market research company in Upstate NY? Contact our Business Development Director, Sandy Baker at SandyB@RMSresults.com or by calling (315) 635-9802.