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3M's use of Focus Groups

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In the mid-1990s, 3M sought ways to push further into the home-care business and decided to target the wool soap pads niche, which was dominated by giants SOS and Brillo. 3M ran eight focus groups around the United States and heard consumers complain that standard wool pads scratched their expensive cookware. These interviews led to 3M’s internationally successful Scotch-Brite® Never Scratch wool soap pad.

Companies can learn form 3M. Focus groups are informal sessions of 6 to 10 past, present, or prospective customers in which a discussion leader, or moderator, asks their opinions about the firm’s and its competitors’ products, how they use these products, and special needs they have that these products don’t address. Often video-recorded and conducted in special interviewing rooms with a one-way mirror, these groups enable marketing researchers and managers to hear and watch consumer reactions. The informality and peer support in an effective focus group uncover ideas that are often difficult to obtain with individual interviews.

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YouSigma. (2008). "3M's use of Focus Groups." From http://www.yousigma.com.

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