At Turnkey, the majority of market research conducted for teams and sponsors tends to be quantitative in nature. However, there are instances where the research objective lends itself to other methodologies. In these cases, focus groups, which are qualitative in nature, can provide benefits over online or paper surveys.
Conducting focus groups both allows for the gathering of insights that may not surface in survey research and enables clients to target a group of respondents that may not be willing and/or able to participate in survey research. For example, Turnkey conducted focus groups for an NFL team’s youth program in which the respondents were children ages 7-14. Conducting this focus group allowed the NFL team to gain insights into their youth program from a kid’s perspective, which would have been impossible to do via an online survey.
Individual focus groups should be as homogeneous as possible in terms of participants’ age, gender, and product usage. Homogeneity allows for an increase in group dynamics which can lead to greater insights. Also, the overall results are easier to analyze when the groups are homogeneous. When the demographics of one respondent are not consistent with the other participants, misleading information can often be provided. If a client desires to obtain information from a variety of ages, genders, etc., conducting multiple focus groups is recommended. To this end, NFL and MLB teams have utilized Turnkey to conduct focus groups amongst their different ticket buying segments (i.e. Club Seat Holders, Premium Seat Holders, Single Game Buyers, etc.).
Live product demonstrations, visuals, and written exercises pertaining to the topic at hand can be included in a standard focus group discussion, further engaging the respondents with the subject. In addition to the vast insights gained through verbal communication, the possibility of observing participants nonverbal behavior including body posture, hand gestures, and facial expressions can lead to additional findings. For example, just mentioning words such as “parking egress” and “public seat license” can evoke negative facial expressions among some season ticket holder focus group participants.
At the end of a typical focus group session, respondents are usually thanked with a small token of appreciation from the client, which can be in the form of money or another tangible item. On a whole, focus group participants often find the experience rewarding and are glad they took a few hours out of their day to share their thoughts and opinions on a subject that matters to them. Focus groups are a win/win for both the client and the participant, and should be top of mind when discussing potential market research projects.