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Are Physical Focus Groups Still Relevant?

Burning Questions


With the advent of so many alternative market research methods — qualitative and quantitative — there’s certainly room for debate on this topic.  Tell us what you think!  If you think yes, physical focus groups are still relevant, tell us why, and what are their best uses.  If you think no, physical focus groups are no longer relevant, tell us what’s better than a physical focus group and why that’s better.  Thanks for commenting!

  1. Kathy Nelson

    I think there is a role for both. We have been very happy with the depth of information we have received from the online approach. But when it comes to processes and flows of programs, you can’t beat the in-person experience and discussion.

  2. Jean-Jacques Grimaud

    Interesting question. Different tools (physical focus groups or another method) may or not give different results. Comparing the results to validate or to understand the differences in the results is valuable … at least for some time. This can be revisited when a sufficient number of comparisons has been made and when the comparisons provide similar results.

  3. Utkarsh

    Yes. This depends on industry. Observation is very powerful tool to understand customer needs and wants.

  4. Jim McFarland

    This is a very interesting debate. We moved away from focus groups a long time ago and adopted the Cascade Strategies model of depth interviews. And we have never been disappointed with the insights, the results and the ability to make solid marketing decisions going forward.

  5. Nick Hunt

    We’ve all been in some horrible focus groups before and those groups can indeed by a waste of time. But, hopefully, we’ve been in groups that have proven to be incredibly insightful. I know for sure I have. Findings and emotions that you’re just not going to get via an online qual study alone. There’s a role for both.

  6. Gordy Bryson

    Focus groups are a waste of time today. Companies that relied on “focus group” testing in the 70’s and 80’s are not in business today.

    Focus groups are designed to help you formulate questions so you don’t accidentally create a false positive or negative prior to undergoing a larger survey. Generally speaking the information that a focus yields will be at best directional but, not at all actionable.

  7. Nestor Olivier

    Interesting debate. There is still a need in market research (or any research for that matter) for in depth discussion and analysis with a subject. We can try to sift through pools, lakes or oceans of data and might not get the insight from a pointed discussion with a physical group. Even if such physical discussion serves as a checkpoint/guiding post on the large data analysis, it has great value.

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A highly innovative, award-winning market research and consulting firm with over 24 years’ experience in the field. Cascade provides consistent excellence in not only the traditional methodologies such as mobile surveys and focus groups, but also in cutting-edge disciplines like Predictive Analytics, Deep Learning, Neuroscience, Biometrics, Eye Tracking, Virtual Reality, and Gamification.
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