The Benefits of Focus Group Research

Focus groups provide companies with a deeper understanding of their target audience, allowing them to develop tailored products and more effective marketing campaigns. While survey research can provide the “what” when looking at consumer drivers, such as “What category do you spend most of your money on?” or “What brand of shampoo do you prefer?”, focus groups can delve into the related “why” questions, the answers of which are more complex and can be difficult to glean from quantitative data. The semi-structured nature of focus groups allows for feedback to flow naturally and can provide more organic answers than a rigid set of survey questions.

A downside of focus groups is that they are expensive and time-consuming, requiring a company to recruit participants, bring them to a central location, and hire a moderator for an in-person discussion. They are often inconvenient for participants, which makes it difficult to recruit and means incentives often have to be high. These challenges have led to the emergence of Market Research Online Communities (MROCs), in which participants can provide feedback on products and participate in unstructured interviews in an online forum that does not require them to be present in person.

How to Conduct Market Research Online Communities (MROCs) in Africa

However, even traditional MROCs can be difficult to organize in emerging markets such as Nigeria and South Africa. Many brands in these regions have a desire for qualitative data, but unreliable internet connections and the need for moderators to speak local languages and understand relevant cultural context means that recruiting participants and keeping them active in an MROC can be difficult. In addition, the reliance on online modes can skew the participant group. If the forum through which the MROC is managed is only accessible through a desktop-browser, a large segment of the population who only access the internet through mobile browsers would be excluded.

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In order to provide our clients with high-quality qualitative data, GeoPoll has recently launched mobile-based Market Research Online Communities (MROCs) in our core markets throughout Africa. These MROCs are run through the mobile phone, so that participants don’t need to have desktop computers, and are moderated by GeoPoll’s country experts, who are able to lead discussions and provide directions appropriately. Participants for GeoPoll’s MROCs are recruited through our active database in each country and are provided incentives regularly during participation via mobile money, airtime credit, or PayPal to encourage ongoing participation.

GeoPoll can create one-time MROCs to facilitate feedback on a specific product or marketing campaign or can recruit participants to take part in an ongoing MROC to gather insights on multiple topics from the same audience over time. Following the MROC discussion or as it is ongoing, GeoPoll’s research team compiles a detailed report that can include photo and video content shared by participants, discussion transcripts, and a summary of insights gathered from the MROC. To learn more about GeoPoll’s MROC capabilities in Africa and other emerging regions and how we recruit participants for and manage the MROC, please contact us here.