eliminating barriers

how we study humans

At Spearfish, we speak with consumers on their turf – in the same environment where they process the consideration and selection decisions for that product or service.

We speak to them in plain, “consumer” language, never using the lingo of consumer insights or internal corporate speak. That way, participants don’t have to guess what we’re talking about. Whether for focus groups or one-on-one interviews, the size of the groups we recruit is based on the assignment at hand – some need to be smaller and more intimate, others can be larger to allow greater participation. We regularly intercept customers at retail, giving them the floor to share real thoughts in real time.

Dwight Fletcher reviews every minute of every focus group tape to capture verbatims exactly and see body language he might have missed during the quick, back-and-forth, highly energized discussions he leads.

It’s one of the reasons why clients consider the insights reports from Spearfish to be among the most thorough in the industry.

more productive sessions

better recruiting

We recruit consumers who have never participated in focus groups before, because we don’t want them to be trying to figure out who’s sponsoring the assignment or anything else that’s outside of their real-life involvement with the brand, product or service.

Participants all have a lifestyle connection with the other participants, whether as friends, associates, peers or neighbors. This enables us to avoid the uncomfortable warm-up and get into the meat of the discussion in the first two minutes, not waiting for everyone to be comfortable around each other, which typically takes 45 minutes or longer with groups using traditional methods to recruit strangers.

If you do the math, you’ll realize that we spend roughly twice as long “going deep” than is possible in traditional groups, which translates to richer, more thorough insights.

why our consumers reveal more

“in the wild” venues

We are happy to conduct focus groups in traditional facilities, but we would like to first get the chance to explain why we feel our venue recommendations offer a better solution. While traditional groups are like studying animals at the zoo, ours are like studying animals in the wild. Who wants to be bombarded with questions in a “caged” environment with a bunch of strangers?

The venues are chosen based on what makes the most sense for the initiative at hand. And our clients get the opportunity to sit in the same room with the participants and query them along with the moderator. For those who are genuinely interested in getting close to consumers, this set-up is ideal.

Spearfish has conducted sessions and intercepts in homes, police stations, airport terminals, physicians’ offices, basketball arenas, casinos, car shows, resorts and hundreds of restaurants and retail stores – all to get close to where consumers are processing the decisions we are exploring.

If you put the higher-quality consumers Spearfish recruits into a venue that’s more conducive to the dynamics of their lifestyle, you will consistently get better results.

the spearfish difference

among the best in the business

Spearfish CEO Dwight Fletcher conducts all the group sessions, consumer interviews and strategic report development. He makes consumer participants feel comfortable and relaxed so that they will reveal their most candid and innermost thoughts and feelings on the topic at hand, since they’re free to engage in normal conversation. His team of insight professionals handles the rest: recruiting, video taping, video editing, quick drawing, and logistics.

A Dallas native, Dwight graduated from Harvard and then received his MBA in Marketing Strategy from The University of Texas at Austin. He spent thirteen years at advertising agencies Tracy-Locke and DDB, leading strategic development for Frito-Lay, Pepsi-Cola, GTE, Kraft Foods, Level 3 Communications and UtiliCorp United, the latter two involving the challenges associated with marketing start-ups.

Dwight formed Spearfish in 2000, where he has successfully leveraged his career-long interest and experience in consumer insights, focusing on positioning and concept development for a varied client roster.