Focus groups feel so old-school. Marketers have been doing them forever and the methodology really hasn’t changed all that much since that “Mad Men” era. With the crazy amounts of consumer-generated media available to marketers, it is odd that we would even bother convene focus groups to tell us what consumers think about the brands we represent: people are telling us–and the world–without our asking. It seems that some companies are latching on to this new media better than others and using blog communities to gather relevant insights. As reported in AdWeek:
“Now firms with expertise ranging from research and word of mouth to digital media are setting up closed communities for clients to tap into the nuances, the spontaneity and the language of consumers engaging in a leisurely change, a different dynamic to one where they sit face-to-face in a focus group for a prescribed period of time. Some of the initiatives focus on a specific topic for a couple of weeks; others create a longer, ongoing conversation.
“‘…when you are a running a qualitative blog: You have people for 10 to 15 days, which is a huge amount of time for them to think about their answers and to challenge your own questions, which makes a big difference in results. What people say when they talk together is more interesting than what they say when they talk to us. What they say peer to peer is more sincere and sometimes very intimate.”