As the consumer products industry decommissions its fleet of focus group facilities you will have to find an alternative source for quick, more creative and accurate consumer learning. Why is the focus group being decommissioned by the likes of Procter & Gamble? Because you can't get tomorrow's business results with yesterday's business practices. Success in today's innovation driven CMO thought leadership environment requires something far different and more agile.
After forty years of focus group immersion, business management experts couldn't agree more acknowledging focus groups are headed for the business boneyard. Because of their presence in leading consumer packaged goods companies, McKinsey, Bain, Boston Consulting, Booz Allen and Calle Company make a well-positioned assessment reporting that despite solid balance sheets and healthy profit margins in the US $2 trillion consumer packaged goods industry (the focus group's principal consumer) revenues are flat (a trend lasting decades) and executives are wondering where new growth will come from. So focus groups are no longer the consumer learning experience once revered during their 1970's heyday - but hey, that's when focus groups were new and marketers didn't know things.
What's wrong with focus groups? Plenty.
Focus Groups are based on yesterday's "question-based marketing" data acquisition and measurement approach - methodologies fraught with pitfalls and poor traditions. For starters,
1)To steal a line from attorney Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird, "You can't ask a question you don't already know the answer to" which is why so much research only reconfirms the things that you already know (boring and not creative) - resulting in your reinvention of other people's light bulbs and wheels.
2)Next, by default, whenever you ask a question, the answer comes AFTER something else has already happened. By default you will be a day late and a pound short - caught reacting to something that's already been done rather than being proactive and innovative.
3)You can't ask the right question. Because whenever you ask a question you don't get "the voice of the consumer" you get the voice of the inquirer through the question being asked, a form of bias that has always led marketers astray - pontificating to themselves, about themselves and wondering why their positioning, marketing, advertising or new product isn't more effective.
Calle & Company's ASSAYS® are innovative consumer learning circles not based on asking questions. ASSAYS provide your consumer groups with 10,000 incredibly comprehensive, highly creative, and consumer-appealing product-based thought-leadership selling solutions instead. Taking yourself and the yoke of your company's belief systems out of the loop - clean sheets of paper are the order of the day here. You become the blank slate on which consumers create, invent and indelibly etch their new impressions and perceptions - massive foresight enabling you to articulate what consumers really want before normal humans, a focus group moderator, or anyone else can articulate the need.
To learn more about ASSAYS ® Consumer-Creative ® Invention Circles contact Calle & Company at future@CalleCompany.com, or dial 714 244 9511.