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Market Research: Determining Why Phone Interviews Are Sometimes Better Than Focus Groups

2012 February 9

Market research, such as market sizing, target marketing, market segmentation, product positioning, pricing, and client satisfaction research, calls for great information for the final results to be reputable. Obtaining trustworthy buyer or prospect information needs good data compilation.

As a start up or an expansion stage company, if you’re pondering how to undertake your key research and you are making an effort to determine between compiling information via a focus group and phone interviews, the following scenarios below will help you determine when telephone interviews work better than focus groups:

Phone interviews are preferable when the kind of research you’re executing is complicated: If you’re carrying out a study that demands your respondents to answer multi-step questions (e.g., utilizing an enterprise application), it’s less trouble-free to guide each respondent through the set of questions on the telephone. In a focus group setting, this will get confusing and muddled.

Telephone interviews supply you with a “cleaner read”: In a focus group, respondents’ thought processes could be very easily motivated by other group members. Since telephone interviews are one-on-one, respondents’ answers are less subjective and more their own.

Phone interviews are more “anonymous” and are better for gathering confidential and thorough information : With a phone interview, you can keep the respondents’ answers private. Respondents don’t have to reply to questions in front of a group of strangers, which might prevent them from being direct. The one-to-one relationship with the interviewer on the telephone can assist in resolving this.

Phone interviews make it less complicated to reach your target market: Maybe there aren’t too many of your target buyers in the location/region where you’re running your focus group. Phone interviews allow you to “cherry pick” prospects from across the country, and even the world.

You have inadequate time and aim to get started with your research immediately: With telephone interviews you can start interviewing as soon as you get your first recruit. You won’t have the time lag that you’d otherwise have with getting a group of respondents together, finding a location, a moderator and planning an entire event; you can do your phone interviews by yourself.  

Better participation from respondents: Since respondents can take telephone calls from anywhere, they can be more flexible, which boosts the chance of involvement in the study. Also, the same faces tend to show up at focus groups; telephone interviews enable you to talk to new people from new markets. So, with phone interviews, not only can you get more contribution, but you can also get better quality contribution too.

Phone interviews are much cheaper:  In-depth focus groups can get very expensive. Not only do you have to shell out money for the moderator to lead the session, you also have to pay him/her for summarizing the data and presenting it to you. In the case that you want to attend the focus group yourself, you have to add in the cost of your travel, lodging and other expenses, as well as the financial incentives required to pay respondents for their participation. Conversely, if your phone interviews are short enough, often times you can get by without paying anything.

Faria Rahman assists our portfolio with research initiatives.

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