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Kaden on Focus Groups

Robert Kaden has an article on MarketingProfs.com about market research. In the article, he wrote the following about focus groups:

Think about a two-hour focus group. Is this state-of-the-art? The moderator asks the questions and respondents to give their top-of-mind responses. At the end of the group, after all the moderator's probing and projective techniques are exhausted, marketers get their two hours' worth of information (or four, six, or eight hours when multiple groups are conducted). Usually, they think they've learned something. Mostly, they get the same superficial understanding of their brands and products that the competition gets in their focus group studies. No wonder so many brands look the same. They are all firing from the same gun!
In light of Susan Abbott's thoughts on focus groups, I am open to the idea that group synergy can somehow yield benefits that other research methods don't deliver. However, Kaden correctly points out that most focus groups yield only superficial information.

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