I’m not a fan of focus groups — I’m a fan of focused focus groups. Steve Jobs famously said that he didn’t use focus groups or market research because customers don’t know what they want. Well, for B2B tech startups that are solving customer problems (ideally providing the equivalent of pain-killers) the good news is that customers do know what they want.
Most focus groups are an assembled set of semi-filtered people (e.g. people in IT) whereas a focused focus group is one where relevant leads are generated and those leads are used as a focus group (e.g. CIOs in healthcare companies with over 10,000 employees deploying iPads to doctors).
Here are three ways to develop focused focus groups:
- Buy Google AdWords and drive the visitors to a simple landing page
- Reach out to your LinkedIn network and ask for one referral from each contact to someone in a relevant industry and position
- Ask your friends on Facebook and followers on Twitter for recommendations of people that can help
- Bonus: Go to the most applicable networking or professional association event for your audience and start talking to people
Building a focused focus group to ask questions is hard, just like acquiring customers is hard. Doing the extra work to talk to these people on the front-end significantly increases the likelihood of startup success.
What else? What are some other ways to develop a focused focus group for B2B startups?