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Market Research Tips: Find Out Why Phone Interviews Are Preferable To Focus Groups

2012 March 30

Market research, such as market sizing, target marketing, market segmentation, product positioning, pricing, and customer satisfaction research, demands very good information for the results to be credible. Acquiring dependable consumer or prospective client information requires good data collection.

As a start up or an expansion stage organization, if you’re wondering how to undertake your major research and you are trying to decide between compiling information by means of a focus group and phone interviews, these scenarios below will assist you in determining when phone interviews work better than focus groups:

Telephone interviews are preferable when the type of research you’re carrying out is complex: If you’re performing a study that needs your respondents to answer multi-step questions (e.g., implementing an enterprise application), it’s more straightforward to guide each respondent through the set of questions on the telephone. In a focus group scenario, this will get complicated and disordered.

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

Phone interviews are more “anonymous” and are preferable to gathering sensitive and thorough information : With a phone interview, you can keep the respondents’ answers confidential. Respondents needn’t have to answer questions in front of a group of strangers, which might make them hesitate about being frank. The one-to-one relationship with the interviewer on the telephone can assist in resolving this.

Phone interviews make it less complicated to connect with your target demographic: Perhaps there aren’t too many of your target customers in the location/region you’re running your focus group. Phone interviews permit you to “cherry pick” prospects from across the country, and even the world.

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

Better involvement from respondents: Since respondents can take phone calls from anywhere, they can be more flexible, which increases the chance of contribution 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 telephone interviews, not only can you get more input, but you can also get better quality input too.

Telephone interviews are much cheaper:  In-depth focus groups can get extremely costly. Not only do you have to pay for the moderator to lead the session, you also have to pay him/her for summarizing the information and presenting it to you. In the case that you want to attend the focus group yourself, you have to factor in the cost of your travel, lodging and other expenses, as well as the financial incentives required to pay respondents for their involvement. Conversely, if your phone interviews are short enough, a lot of times you can get by without paying anything.

Faria Rahman assists our portfolio with research initiatives.

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