Leading Capital Region marketing agency, Overit Media,  has a new market research & focus group facility that many companies in the area will want to utilize in order to gain market insights, says Volunteer AMA Contributor, Anna Varney.

“Anyone designing a new marketing effort, creating new messaging, or about to embark on a campaign of any sort, let alone launch a new product could be a candidate. Since my heart and soul belong to B2C, I guess that would be my client hope.  I would also love to work with other agencies collaboratively, since it’s always fun to work with our peers,” says Michelle Dinsmore, Vice President of Overit.

What is a focus group?

On Mad Men, focus groups were often a great narrative device but in real life, a focus group is about insight and knowledge. A focus group is simply a group discussion focused on a topic, to gain insights. Typically, it involves 8-12 participants, for 1.5-2 hours in a relaxed environment, where a moderator asks questions and others in a viewing room observe verbal and non-verbal responses.

The information gathered from an FG is not meant to be conclusive but exploratory. Oftentimes, best marketing practice is to combine this type of research with more data-driven, qualitative methods like surveys and questionnaires. Instinct is not enough to make informed decisions that drive business growth. “Today, the stakes have never been higher and gut instinct is not enough. Important decisions require data, said Paul Fahey, Overit’s Chief Operating Officer. He drove the effort to build the facility in-house.

Would a focus group be right for you?

If you have limited or conflicting information and want to figure out best answers to your questions, a focus group is a great way to get quick turnaround on questions.

“Having a facility just emphasizes where we can keep learning, improving, refining, testing, or keep validating. In-person focus groups always lead to different candor than other methods, and I think you can always get something new out of the exercise, “said Dinsmore.

Do you need information on motives and the psychological aspects behind a marketing decision?  These conversations provide far more insight than a survey or other kind of research. They will show you barriers you may be facing, behaviors and attitudes that consumers have that you may not be aware of and can provide insight into your competition.

“You can gain feedback to new campaign ideas or previously-held thought, but you’re also able to get the “why” and the “how.” Why something resonates or why it fails to resonate. You get someone else’s words in their own voice which, as a marketer, is incredibly valuable,” says Overit’s Chief Marketing Officer Lisa Barone.

Overit’s Facility

Overit’s conference room is equipped with the following features:

  1. a one-way mirror with a double-glass sound barrier.
  2. Digital audio recording with multi-directional, low-noise ceiling-mounted microphones and back-up equipment.
  3. Livestreaming video capabilities.

The observation room (above) comes equipped with seating for up to 12 people with high-quality audio. Viewers can also directly message the moderator as the session is happening. Other fun amenities: refrigerator and free wi-fi.

“Through focus grouping, we’re able to uncover feedback in a potential customers’ own words and voice, uncover potential issues (to immediately address them), identify new opportunities, and test concepts and campaigns before initial launch,” said Barone.