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It’s amazing what can happen when a company interacts with and listens to what people are clamoring for, and then creates products based on the feedback. By now most of us are familiar with the term “disrupter” and while a lot of companies like to think of themselves as disrupters, few truly are. Mostly it’s the same old stuff being re-packaged with a new story created so that people think something fresh has come along. It doesn’t take too long before consumers realize they were duped by some good, old-fashioned bait-and-switch marketing tactics. The cosmetics industry probably takes the cake when it comes to taking familiar products and contorting their features just enough to make the consumer think it’s something new. Just walk down any cosmetics aisle for confirmation.

There are loads of niche cosmetics brands, but there is no other company that better exemplifies a grass-roots approach to product development than Glossier.  Rather than create a product followed by a marketing campaign, Glossier’s founder and CEO, Emily Weiss, does the opposite. First, she listens to what women want by asking the right questions through social media, which basically functions as a focus group for women, and then her company creates products for the demand she knows is there.

Focus Groups with Women

Being a Millennial herself, Ms. Weiss was well aware of the power of social media, particularly Instagram.  She ensured that when designing products that the packaging be visual and customizable so that they would “pop” on visual social media sites. Glossier isn’t passive about how it gathers feedback from its users on social media. The company takes its cues from what women are talking about and the stories they’re sharing or it will instigate a conversation. For example, early in 2016 the company asked its social media followers what they most wanted from a heavy-duty moisturizer. More than one thousand responses later the company created a product it launched in less than a year based entirely on the feedback it gathered from its followers. Glossier is basically conducting non-stop focus groups with women and its success proves that listening pays off.

Focus Groups with Millennials

There are many different ways to conduct focus groups and what Glossier demonstrates is that when it comes to consumers under the age of 35, Instagram is as good as place as any to conduct focus groups with Millennials. Glossier engages with its audience and all comments left on social media sites are responded to directly by its marketing, customer service and editorial teams. This two-way street between company and customer allows for an honest dialogue with the final outcome being products that reflect these conversations.

Not every company is as adept at listening to what its customers have to say, nor do they necessarily know which questions to ask. If you’d like to learn more about how your company can harness the power of focus groups, whether conducted more traditionally or suited toward younger generations, we are ready to help.

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