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Step 3: Recruit participants.

Your contractor will recruit participants for a recruiting fee. You’ll also pay an incentive to participants. (See section on Focus Groups, earlier in this chapter, for information on recruiting participants.)

Step 4: Prepare for the pretest.

Before the pretest session, your contractor should make sure that all arrangements are made. This checklist may be helpful:

  • Has participant recruitment taken place as scheduled? Were participants reminded to attend? Do they have transportation and correct directions?

  • Have the moderators or interviewers rehearsed?

  • Is the meeting room or other facility reserved for you? Is it set up? Are enough chairs available? Are extra chairs available in case more people show up than you expect? Is the heating or air conditioning working properly? Do you know where the light switches are? If a microphone is needed, is it set up and functioning properly?

  • Is the pretesting videotape ready? Are the video and audio portions of the tape clear?

  • Are the videocassette recorder (VCR) and TV monitors working properly? Do you need another monitor so that everyone will be able to see the program?

Chapter 3: Gaining and Using Target Audience Insights

  • Are enough copies of the pretest ques- tionnaire on hand? Is each question- naire complete (no pages missing)? Are there enough pencils for participants? Will they need clipboards or pads?

Step 5: Conduct the pretest.

The following checklist is useful for conducting the pretest:

  • Have everything organized and working before the session.

  • Conduct a dry run to check on equip- ment and timing.

  • Be friendly and courteous to partici- pants from the moment they arrive until they leave. (Remember to thank them.)

  • Have a backup plan in case “surprises” occur (e.g., a large number of no-shows, too many participants, equipment failure, or a disruptive individual).

The session should take no more than one hour and 15 minutes if you’re organized and well prepared.

Step 6: Analyze the pretest. Analyze the questionnaires in two steps. First,

tabulate or count how many participants gave each possible response to each question, and

look for patterns in the responses to both closed-ended and open-ended questions. The patterns will help you to draw conclusions about the effectiveness of your message.

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