Marketing Research: Using Mind Maps to Organize Focus Group Results
An important part of the marketing research process is finding out what consumers think about the product you are marketing. One of the most common ways to find out what potential consumers think is to conduct a focus group. A focus group is “a form of qualitative research (research involving thoughts, feelings, and ideas) in which a group of people [is] asked about their attitude towards a product, service, concept, advertisement, idea or packaging.” 1In a focus group, the participants usually interact with a moderator, and each other, in a free flowing, open-forum manner. During the focus group, the researcher normally sits in a separate room and takes notes on the responses of the participants. He or she then organizes the responses in a manner that the client, or the developer of the product, ad, package, etc., can understand. Although there are many methods a researcher can use to organize focus group notes, such as a standard written report or a PowerPoint presentation, Mind Maps offer a more creative and intuitive choice. A Mind Map is a means of spatially organizing information using words, pictures, colors and other visual representations that are in alignment with the brain’s natural way of processing information. By using a Mind Map, researchers have access to an effective and creative means of presenting qualitative data.
Using Mind Mapping to Organize the Results of Your Focus Group
An example of a common type of focus group is one that asks moms of children within a certain age range their opinions on a product geared towards children of that age. Suppose that you are conducting such a focus group, and have assembled 8 moms in a room to ask their opinion on a cell phone designed for 8-10 year olds. You ask the moms their opinions on five aspects of the phone: color, shape, price, packaging, and child appeal. After you have collected the opinions of the moms, you decide to “map out” your findings using a Mind Map, so that your client can view the results.
The first place to start would be with the product itself, represented in the center of the Mind Map. The next step would be to represent the five aspects of the phone you asked the moms about. These aspects could be attached to the central image using “branches”, each located in their own section of the map. To represent the opinions of the moms concerning each aspect, you could then attach “child branches” to the aspects labeled “positive”, “negative”, and “neutral”. Attached to these “child branches” would then be the opinions of the moms; each opinion would be attached to the corresponding “child branch” depending on if the opinion was positive, negative or neutral. The above Mind Map shows how the responses would look if “mapped out” in the manner described.
Showing the Focus Group Results to the Client
The above-described Mind Map exemplifies how data representing the opinions of multiple consumers can be organized into one clearly organized chart. The client can now look at one chart, rather than reading multiple pages of a traditional report, and easily see how the moms feel about the product. The colors and visuals of the attached Mind Map also show the creative manner with which the results are displayed, making them easier to interpret. When presenting any findings to a client as a market researcher, simplicity and clarity is key; the client’s primary interest is in how well the product did or will do. In this case, the Mind Map allows the client to interpret the opinions of several people quickly and accurately.
1. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Focus_group