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How To Run Customer Focus Groups Successfully

by Basil Harris  |  
March 4, 2003

You know how good it feels when someone asks to hear your opinion on a subject that's important to you. Your customers are no different.

Despite claims and ad campaigns to the contrary, many companies are doing a poor job of establishing productive dialogues with their customers. A simple but effective way to help remedy this is to run regular customer focus groups.

A focus group is a face-to-face meeting with a sampling of your users aimed at helping you learn more about who they are and what they need from you. Just as importantly, it gives them an opportunity to find out more about you.

Focus groups can work wonders towards helping you create realistic, customer-centered plans and strategies. They are also a powerful tool for building stronger, more profitable relationships with your best customers.

So what does it take to organize and run a successful customer focus group?

Recipe for Success

Focus groups can be relatively easy to set up and manage, and will more than pay you back for the investment you make in them.

Well-run focus groups engage and enfranchise your customers in the ongoing success of your business. They enable rich dialogues on critical subjects with people who most often have the best information. And they send a strong signal to your customers that you are interested in their success as well as your own.

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Basil Harris, Jr. is the founder and president of MarketStreams (, a strategic and product marketing consulting firm based in New Hampshire. He can be reached at

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