The Danger in Home Grown Focus Groups

We are often asked if it is possible to save money on ad testing by simply showing potential ad campaigns to clients. This gives us major heartburn.

Why? First of all clients are not representative of prospects—they know a lot about your firm or company already. Second will the client be honest with you? And if they tell you the campaign is awful, how will they feel when it runs regardless of their advice?

Finally the best ad testing comes when a third party (not your ad agency) conducts the actual focus groups or in-depth interviews. True researchers are able to be completely neutral when they probe as they had nothing to do with creating the ads. In addition, researchers are highly skilled and trained in how to ask the right questions. (Yes there is a difference than being skilled at taking a deposition.) They will also show the research participant, ads from your competitors. This comparative approach will give you a much better sense of your position in the market. So make sure your new ad campaign budget sets aside enough money for the testing portion.

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