One of the questions that I get asked a lot is, “How to use bulletin board focus groups for B-B research?” Frankly, bulletin board focus groups are terrific for busy executives because they are asynchronous (not real time) so the participants can participate whenever is convenient for them. C-level executives may participate early in the morning or late at night or even in the middle of the day. Regardless, they have a convenient opportunity to take part in a discussion with their peers.
One effective method that is gaining traction is the use of QualBoard as a platform for “Online Advisory Boards.” These are typically 10-15 executives who are recruited to participate in an ongoing online research discussion that generally lasts for a couple of weeks. The executives log in every couple of days to see what other executives have to say on a particular topic and to give their opinion. The moderator and the client sponsor ask questions that relate directly to their research need but also generate discussion and debate among the executives. The executives enjoy the format because the topic must be of interest to them and they get an opportunity to interact with their peers.
These Online Advisory Boards are proving to be very successful. Executives like them because they get a rare opportunity to interact with peers on a topic of interest. The client sponsors like the opportunity to hold the attention of decision-makers and get honest feedback from them. Moderators must be on their toes and design an engaging discussion that meets the needs of both the executive participants and the client sponsors.