Mastering the Art of Engagement in a Bulletin Board Focus Group

We always get all warm and fuzzy inside when we see one of our clients doling out expert advice about engaging participants in a bulletin board focus group. OK, so that doesn’t happen that often, but it did when we saw the cover of this month’s edition of Quirk’s Marketing Research Review featuring an article by 20|20 client Greg Cobb of Psyma International Inc.

In the article, titled “How to Establish and Nurture Online Discussion-Board Conversations,” Greg explains how you can balance having fun and fostering interesting conversation with actually getting the information you need from bulletin board focus group participants. He recognizes the struggle that researchers have engaging participants when they’re sitting across the table from them, let alone 3,000 miles away, which can be the case when you’re conducting online qualitative research.

Definitely read the full article (free registration required), but also check out what tips stood out to us:

  • Send them something: A sure-fire way to engage participants in a bulletin board focus group is to send them “something, anything,” says Greg. You could go high-tech and send respondents a Flip video camera (that they use to shoot video to upload to the bulletin board focus group. Or, just a small notebook and pen to write down their observations would do the trick. Even product samples can be engaging giveaways.
  • Stay involved as an online moderator: Don’t just post your questions and wait for the responses to trickle in. “Frequent, personal interaction with the respondents can create an environment which feels closer to a gathering of friends than a research study populated by strangers with a monetary reward the only motivation to participate,” explains Greg. Also, thank them for their participation often.
  • Rethink the incentive: Depending on the length of the bulletin board focus group, which could last a few days to a few weeks, you may want to offer progressive incentives. Greg explains: “For a multi-week study, we offer a weekly incentive, contingent on completion of all required assignments for that week, and a final bonus incentive for completion of the entire project.”
  • Check out more tips for engaging bulletin board focus group participants in the Resources section of

Leave a reply