Why focus groups don’t work

The high-end Dyson vacuum cleaner has sold more than 12 million units worldwide thanks to the determination and clarity of focus of its inventor, James Dyson. Focus groups suggested that the vacuum’s transparent collection bin disgusted consumers. People said they did not like finding out their carpets were so dirty. Dyson trusted his instincts more than his focus groups, convinced that a display of disgusting grime “would give people a certain sense of satisfaction after they had vacuumed.”

This sensation has proved a great selling point—and a new household maintenance addiction. Instead of being embarrassed by all this dirt, owners of the Dyson regularly demonstrate the product for visiting friends. Sixty percent of buyers have had the vacuum recommended to the by a friend.
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That’s not me talking.
That’s Douglas Rushkoff talking in his book “Get back in the box.” There are many stories like the one above which suggest that focus groups don’t work. What’s perhaps the biggest problem with focus groups? In short, what people say in a focus group rarely matches what they do in a real-life setting.
My 2¢:
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