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Focus groups can be very effective in gaining insight into how your target audience may react to a new marketing program. However, they can be costly and time consuming, especially if there are several audiences. Use this exercise to do a quick gut check.

1. Identify the marketing idea (e.g. campaign, promotion, ad) that you’d like to get more insight on.

2. Determine the various target audiences and stakeholders that will be exposed to it. Don’t forget to include employees who may be responsible for executing the idea.  You may even want to include a representative for your competitors to see how they may react.

3. Write down each audience on a different color index card.

4. Get a group of your employees who interact with these people.

5. Depending on how well each person knows these audiences, you can either assign specific people to represent specific audiences or have them choose randomly.

6. Present the marketing idea to the group.

7. Have each person write down what their assigned audience would think about the idea on post-it notes with the same color as their index card. Use these questions to help them with their thinking:

  • Does this relate to me?
  • Does this appeal to me?
  • What things would come to mind if I saw this?
  • Would this compel me to take action?
  • How does this make me feel about the company’s brand?

8. Have each person present their thoughts to the group and discuss any improvements that could be made to improve the idea.