Focus groups are ubiquitous—a relatively easy, inexpensive, and quick way to take the pulse of the consumer. Brand managers and agency staff lounge in a darkened room, behind a two-way mirror, enjoying soft drinks, finger sandwiches, and M&Ms while 8–10 consumers critique their work. Focus groups evaluate new product ideas, advertising storyboards, package designs, and promotional programs.
“If you saw this jalapeno-flavored milk mix at your store, would you be interested in trying it?” asks the moderator.
“Yes, I might try it out,” responds one participant.
“It seems interesting,” replies another.
“If I had a coupon, I might consider it,” adds a third participant.
“It certainly ...