Are Focus Groups Worth it?
Short answer: Yes, but read on:
AD AGENCY EXECS BASH FOCUS GROUPS
"We've become a culture that has bred out risk-taking," she told the audience at the Grand Hyatt hotel during the panel discussion titled "Campaigns I Wish I'd Done." She bemoaned that in the current economic squeeze, chief marketing officers have become overly dependent on logical, quantifiable marketing propositions.
On the one hand you can see the amusement with this as creatives just want researchers out of the way so that "creative barriers" can be removed. On the other hand, why not attempt to quantify the likelihood of a campaign's success prior to millions of dollars being spent?
Yes, focus groups can be biased and so can most research but it is still important. The problem is that too much credence is placed on the findings of research. The creative process gets hung up on datapoints and that's where all creativity just ends. Research drives creative far too much.
Am I advocating the elimination of focus groups and research? Of course not. Research needs to be just a part of the creative process. Not the controlling element. Risks do need to be taken. We are never going to know every last detail about our target audience. There can not be a proof point for every square inch on and ad nor should there be.
Creativity is not a science, it is a craft.