Focus groups are no longer what they were. The web and changing lifestyle has changed the way focus group are constituted for Marketing Consumer Research.
A sterile room with a researcher taking down notes or respondents answering dry questionnaire is how a traditional focus group often worked. A good moderator could still get some insight or keep the group focused for long enough. Yet it was a method that was bound to change.
The focus group is a very different entity now. From how it is sourced to the method used, focus groups have come a long way. The driving force has been the internet and the changing behavior of people themselves. Some methods also enable businesses to observe research first-hand. For instance, a company in Singapore or UK can actually watch a research session in real time.
MROCs: These internet research groups can be contacted for a campaign when wanted. This is a focus group that is already committed to the research. So, there are less chances of respondents leaving in between. Since this is based on member interaction, you are likely to get true consumer insight. It also means a motivated, invested group. Usually used for long-term studies, MROCs are equally effective for a quick spot study.
Informal Groups: This can be described as a more informal, modern take on the traditional focus group. Instead of a group of strangers, we use a group of friends and in the place of a sterile research room we host the group in an informal setting, such as a respondent’s house. The discussion is also carried out in an informal, chatty manner. This atmosphere is far more effective in getting consumer insight. The moderator also studies consumer behavior — how lifestyle, income and tastes affect preferences.
Online Observation: The Internet has made Marketing Consumer Research very effective as well. Now many researchers are entering the home of their respondents through online screening. They can observe respondents as they go through their daily life. This gives them a true insight into their life and behavior.