Market research is an overarching term for gathering information from you customers about your business, and focus groups are one way to conduct market research.
Whether your focus group's goal is to give feedback on a product or service or help you assess how your brand stands out in your competitive landscape, thought-provoking, open-ended questions are essential to a productive discussion.
Focus group questions should dive into the mind of a consumer. What do they think? How do they make their decisions? You want more than a yes or no answer, and your questions need to generate them. However, it is easier said than done. What can you ask beyond "What do you think of our product?" to provoke the most fruitful answers?
Here, we have compiled the most insightful questions you can ask in your next focus group to get the best insights from your participants.
Copy-and-paste the questions you like below into this note taking template for a ready-to-go, printable document you can bring to the session.
Featured Resource: Market Research Focus Group Template
For a free template for note taking during focus groups, a guide on conducting market research, and several other templates, download our Market Research Kit.
Sample Focus Group Questions
- How did you learn about our company?
- When was the last time you purchased a product/service in our industry?
- How often do you use our product/service?
- If you could change one thing about our product/service, what would it be?
- What kind of problems have you experienced when using our product/service?
- What do you think are the strengths and weaknesses of our product?
- What companies do you think are at the top of our industry?
- What is the first thing you consider when buying a product?
- Where do you go to receive information about our company?
- Is there anything else you would like to say about our company or product?
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Focus Group Question Examples for Understanding Product Demand for Something You Haven’t Yet Put Out in the Market
These eleven questions will help you understand the demand for a new product or service. These questions will uncover buying habits for a product you envision and whether there is a true product-market fit.
- "What was your first reaction to the product?"
- "How often do you/would you use this type of product?"
- "Would you be the one deciding to purchase this product/service? If not, who would be?"
- "When and where do you use our product?"
- "When you think about the product, do you think of it as something you absolutely need, something you could do without, or something that's somewhere in the middle?"
- "How much would you be willing to pay for a product like this?"
- "How would you ideally like to buy this product? Would you talk to a sales rep, or would you prefer to purchase it on your own?"
- "What do you think this product is missing?"
- "How would you describe someone you think would use this product/service?"
- "If you ended up liking your experience with this product, could you see yourself repurchasing it? If so, how often?"
- "If you could either have this product/service or the equivalent dollar value for you/your business, which would you choose? Why? (Specify the dollar value of your product/service when asking this question.)"
Focus Group Question Examples for Branding
The following questions help run word association brainstorms and generate potential names for a new product or company.
- "What words come to mind when you think of our product category? (Example: "What words come to mind when you think of food delivery?")"
- "What words come to mind when you think of [insert a word that symbolizes the main value prop of your product/service here - for example, 'efficiency,' 'speed,' 'health']?"
- "What is your initial reaction to this name?"
- "What words come to mind when you hear this name?"
- "How would you pronounce this? (Spell out the name on a piece of paper or whiteboard.)"
Ask, and you shall receive.
In your business, your consumer is the most important person. What they think is central to your business strategy — how they view your company and industry, what drives them to make a purchase, what their interests are. The answers to the above focus group questions will shape how you approach your business. You now have dozens of questions to get the conversation started, and you didn’t even have to ask.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in November 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.