Imagine this…

In one room, at one time, three groups of six people are being led concurrently through a research project. Each of the three focus groups represents a unique consumer segment who purchases a specific brand.

At each table, sitting with the participants, are clients and agency reps, product designers, CEOs, and CTOs. Listening and contributing. By design and fully transparent to the participants.

At each table, a moderator is tasked with ensuring their group stays on schedule and consistently follows and executes the directions as delivered by the lead moderator.

The lead moderator, who has planned the session and is now managing the time and pacing for the more than 20 people involved, addresses the entire room and moves among each of the three groups in a carefully choreographed dance of discovery.

That, my friends, is a market research SuperSession, one of many highly beneficial qualitative research techniques.


Most SuperSessions use workbooks which are aligned to a specific research project. These workbooks are thorough and detailed, and provide prompts related to broad ideas like brand promise and customer experience, or straightforward ideas like which precise product features people like. And much like a traditional questionnaire, these workbooks may also include Likert scales or open-ended questions.

In this workbook, people record their opinions and answers individually, uncontaminated by group opinions. After they’ve had a chance to really think about and solidify their own opinions, then they discuss them with their group perhaps to discover how opinions are the same or different. Perhaps to discover why their opinions are the same or different.

These workbooks form the backbone of SuperSessions. Not only do they help researchers understand consumer opinions before the motivations for those choices are contaminated and/or enlightened by group discussion, those workbooks speed up the reporting process. They deliver individual opinions in the self-selected words of each participant, revealing as much about the opinion as about the person themselves.

When to Use SuperSessions

SuperSessions are an excellent methodology for bringing segments to life but they also work in any scenario where multiple target audiences need to be decoded. They also work well for research projects that have a lot of stimuli and clear, targeted objectives.

For example, SuperSessions can help a client who:

  • Is having difficulty understanding their segmentation results
  • Wants to look at a brand effort from top to bottom, from big ideas to small details
  • Can’t put themselves in the position of their target consumer, or who is experiencing conflict over the target definition

Is a SuperSession on your horizon?


Ready to learn more? Download our Sklar Wilton Research Decision Wheel for a template to help you categorize decisions to ensure your research plans are focused on the right big areas. Or, learn how we used qualitative research and cultural analysis to help our client choose a product name that would be clear and relevant for consumers, and set them up for success.