WEFOUNDNorth Star: Focus on Listening and Speaking: Basic Teacher's Manual (NorthStar)

Sometimes we don’t only want to know what people think.  We need to know why people think that.  That’s where focus groups are useful.

Focus groups are discussions with a much smaller group of people than participate in a survey.  But that small group allows us to dig much deeper into the thought process of our target group, whether they are voters or lobbyists and congressional staffers.  You don’t need a focus group to find out that congressional staffers are cynical.  But a focus group is a great tool to understand what breaks down that cynicism to present an effective message.

Focus groups are also a great way to test television ads.  You can see reactions live, and find out why participants reacted that way.  “This one was right in your face.  It was an explosion.”  …  “I pay enough in taxes already, and I hope I won’t be paying any more.”  “I liked that she had a choice, could stand on her own, and still supported him.”