A focus group is any group of people brought together by marketing professionals to provide feedback on products or services. For example, if a marketer interested in selling a certain food product wanted to use a focus group, he or she could ask a group of people to taste it and provide feedback about its quality. To choose the best focus group software, you can begin by learning about the different programs available on the market. Some kinds of software allow marketers to enter information from phone conversations with focus group members while others enable chatting among focus group members in virtual chat rooms. It is also common to find focus group software that combines a number of functions into a software suite.
When you are trying to find the best focus group software, a good first step is to set a budget. Some websites and trade publications directed toward the market research industry list different kinds of focus group software, along with programs' different functions. Sometimes you can even read case studies related to the programs. These are a great way to learn about the practical applications of software and to decide if a program's functions make sense for your needs.
Marketing professionals often prefer focus group software that allows them to store multiple kinds of media for future analysis. For instance, if a professional were to record a focus group meeting with a digital camera, he or she might want to store that video into a relevant file for later access. Researchers tend to record video, text, and audio files, so good programs should be compatible with these different formats.
Many people consider the amount of support that comes with focus group software. A professional from a small marketing firm with little information technology (IT) support might choose such a software as a service option. When people talk about software as a service, they normally are referring to cloud computing programs that include IT support and security and capability upgrades as part of a package. A larger firm with an in-house IT department, on the other hand, might benefit more from a complex program that their own IT professionals can customize and implement.
It is also common to find focus group software designed to be used for qualitative research. Market research professionals use this kind of software to compile and analyze focus group data. They can use these programs to create charts and graphs and to generate spreadsheets that they share with clients.