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How to utilise focus groups to gather great quality medical market research

Conducting focus groups, a vital part of medical market research is a way to help you gather genuine insight into who your users are, what they want, and how they use your product.  They lead towards the creation of more user-centric marketing strategies and a stronger relationship with your users, and in turn, greater profitability for your company.

The question is this:  how can one conduct a focus group for medical market research successfully?

Choose your preferred market research company that specialises in medical market research

Enlisting a market research company grants you access to more participants, a greater variety of them, and professional expertise on market research in healthcare. An expansive database of  medical market research specialists, access to respondents and a systematic communication and recruitment process are all important factors to consider. A good market research company must be able to gather feedback on different types of goods and services, generate and evaluate data from different types of users, and develop focus points for future research activities such as questionnaires and interviews.

Be clear on the type of information you need for your medical market research needs

Establishing clear, measurable objectives is the most vital step in running a focus group. They provide direction for the whole operation: they decide your topics, influence the questions you ask, and guide the evaluation of your data. They give you data that you can actually use.

To define a research objective, ask yourself these four questions:

What medical market research activities do I need to do?

Specifically describe the action that must be performed in order to gather data, e.g. “Get reactions to five different healthcare product concepts”

Who do I need to ask?

Specify who you will ask to gather information, and why. An example: “Mothers, because it is a product aimed at children”

What medical market research items do I need to gather?

Narrow down on which areas you require feedback, e.g. “preferences, beliefs, and interest level”

What will I use this for?

Finally specify what you will use the information for, e.g. “To decide which concepts are viable enough for further development.”

 

After defining the medical market research objectives, list down the main topics that you want to cover. Topics must be broad enough to encourage open discussion, yet must remain relevant. It is also important that the questions remain unbiased: if the environment of the focus group is not relaxed and non-threatening, the participants will not be able to freely express their opinions.

 

Choose your participants carefully. Are they the target market for your medical market research efforts?

Choosing the right people for a focus group is another vital step in conducting market research in healthcare. According to Greenbaum (1998), the right individuals must be recruited for a focus group. If not, the process would be worthless or unhelpful. Failing to put together the correct group profile is one of the most common mistakes in running focus groups.

 

Participants must:

  • Represent the demographic in medical market research you are aiming for, or have the characteristic you are looking for.

  • Be knowledgeable about the specific issue or subject matter of the area that you are gathering information about.

  • Not limited to those who already regularly use the service or buy the product. These users are more likely to be satisfied, and may give only positive feedback.

  • Another important thing to consider in your participants is homogeneity. Participants respond better when they feel that they relate to the group and share things in common.

Bring all these points together and carefully select a market research company that specialises in the healthcare industry and you can drastically increase your chances of collecting high quality, useful medical market research.

Want more information on what to do before embarking on a medical market research mission? Check out this article: 5 things to consider when conducting medical market research in the healthcare industry

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