Key Advantages of Virtual Focus Groups

With respect to jury research methods, many trial consultants have moved their practice from the traditional in-person focus groups to a virtual environment.

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As with most every business sector in our country, the legal industry has not been immune to the effects of COVID-19. Considering social distancing requirements and concerns over continued spread of the disease, we have been forced to be innovative and creative in our approach to litigation and the trial preparation process.  

With respect to jury research methods, many trial consultants have moved their practice from the traditional in-person focus groups to a virtual environment. OPVEON has embraced this change and has experienced significant success in this regard.

While it is understandable for clients to be concerned about the downfalls that may be associated with remote focus groups, we believe the benefits fully outweigh the challenges.  

The following is a list of the KEY ADVANTAGES associated with a Virtual Focus Group:

1.    Significant Cost Savings.   We consider the substantial cost savings to be one of the greatest advantages of hosting focus groups online. While a traditional one-day focus group may range from $25,000.00 - $75,000.00 depending on the type of project, a virtual focus group can be held for a fraction of that cost. There are no travel expenses, no conference room fees, and no meal catering costs. Online-research also tends to run more efficiently and often doesn’t last as long as in-person research projects. As a result, online participants can be paid less, which has the effect of decreasing the cost of juror incentive payments.  

2.    Convenience.   Want your insurance client to attend the focus group but they are under a company-wide travel ban?  No problem. Both attorneys and clients can attend the focus group remotely. Because all presentations are pre-recorded, there is no need for anyone to be present (except virtually) on the day of the focus group.      

3.    More In-Depth Responses.   Based on our experience, online participants provide significantly more detailed feedback compared to in-person participants. Online, participants feel less rushed when filling out questionnaires, which results in them taking their time to generate responses that are more in-depth and thought out.  

4.    Increased Data and Feedback.   When conducting online jury research, you are not limited to the size of a room. With in-person research there are significant limitations to how many participants can be in a room while practicing 6ft of social distancing between individuals. Due to this and the significant cost savings associated with online research, some attorneys chose to have a greater number of online participants than they would if the research was hosted in-person. This results in increased feedback and data that can significantly benefit your case.

5.    More Diverse Participants.   Cost becomes an issue during recruiting. For example, the Northern District of Oklahoma (“NDOK”) is comprised of Craig, Creek, Delaware, Mayes, Nowata, Osage, Ottawa, Pawnee, Rogers, Tulsa, and Washington counties. Many of these counties are an hour (plus) drive from Tulsa, where the courthouse in the NDOK is situated. When facilitating a focus group for a case pending in this jurisdiction, we are typically limited to recruiting from counties that are contiguous with Tulsa County because of the travel time and cost for mock jurors. When conducting research online, travel is not a concern so mock jurors can be recruited from anywhere in the target jurisdiction, resulting in greater diversity and more accurate data.

After experiencing the advantages of online focus groups, you may find the virtual approach to be a more favorable option for the long-term. It is predicted that current industry changes won’t be abandoned after the virus. It is important to take on innovative adaptations now, as they continue to shape the future of litigation.

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