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

2012 April 5

Market research, like market sizing, target marketing, market segmentation, product positioning, pricing, and client satisfaction research, calls for great data for the results to be reputable. Getting dependable customer or potential customer information needs excellent data collection.

As a start up or an expansion stage business, if you’re pondering how to do your prime research and you are attempting to choose between compiling information by means of a focus group and phone interviews, the following situations will help you determine when telephone interviews work better than focus groups:

Phone interviews are better when the kind of research you’re executing is complex: If you’re carrying out a study that calls for your respondents to reply to multi-step questions (e.g., implementing a business application), it’s easier to guide every respondent through the set of questions on the phone. In a focus group scenario, this will get complicated and disordered.

Telephone interviews present 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 partial and more their own.

Telephone interviews are more “anonymous” and are preferable to collecting classified and thorough information : With a phone interview, you can keep the respondents’ answers private. Respondents needn’t have to reply to questions in front of a group of strangers, which may prevent them from being open. The one-to-one relationship with the interviewer on the phone can aid in remedying this.

Phone interviews make it easier to get in touch with your target audience: Maybe there aren’t too many of your target customers in the location/region where you’re running your focus group. Telephone interviews allow you to “cherry pick” prospects from across the country, and even the world.

You have limited time and aim 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, finding a location, a moderator and planning an entire event; you can do your telephone interviews by yourself.  

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

Phone interviews are much cheaper:  In-depth focus groups can get very expensive. 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 add in the cost of your travel, lodging and other expenses, as well as the financial incentives needed to pay respondents for their involvement. Conversely, if your telephone 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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