Focus Groups Learn 'Hows and Whys' (On Consumers)

by Craig Douglass and Ernie and Zoe Oakleaf  on Monday, Aug. 6, 2012 12:00 am  

Respondent: "I can tell my friends as soon as I know." (Higher benefit)

Moderator: "What does telling your friends right away do for you?"

Respondent: "I'm the go-to guy for sports. My friends expect me to know, and I do." (Emotional benefit)

The bottom line is the smartphone user feels better about himself (and his purchasing decision) because he is in the know.

Through this focus group exchange, which would take place among a group of eight to 12 participants, the client can readily see how to shape the marketing program to appeal to a smartphone user's need for information. It is not necessarily what the user knows from using the phone, but it's how it makes him or her feel. It's an emotional benefit that comes directly from one of the phone's features. And that's what savvy marketers would key on to develop their marketing communications message and promotion program.

The laddering approach can be used for a wide array of different products and services, specifically designed to inform a business not only about what consumers like, but how it makes them feel - or how they want to feel. And that's how you sell!

(Craig Douglass is an advertising agency owner and partner with Zoe and Ernie Oakleaf in InFocus LLC, a Little Rock-based focus group research company.)



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