Knowing Your Members’ Minds. Part 4

Piercewarnsthat if you hire a facilitator, itcan get expensive — as much as $1,500 to $2,000 a day. Instead, you may want to use a college intern or a staff member who has studied focus groups. The key is preparation and knowing what you want to get from the group.

Now hiring

Hiring a marketing research firm is one way to find out what members and prospective membersare thinking, but be prepared to pull out the checkbook. John Maben, president of TwentyTen Research, says market research is inherently expensive, and if too many corners are cut, the information gathered could send a business owner down the wrong path. “By its nature, market research is expensive because it’s time-intensive,” says Maben. “If you don’t put a lot of time into it, you can end up with misleading information.”According toMaben,theminimum cost to hire a research firm would be $5,000. “That’s really the lowest figure, and that would be a very bare-bones kind of project,” he says.

However, you can likely keep your checkbook in the drawer. As already mentioned, there are plenty of good, inexpensive alternatives to peering inside your customers’ minds. And once you do, you can use that information to better your business and keep your members happy.

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