Deeper customer connections through qualitative research.

Posted by 360 Market Reach ● Mar 10, 2022 10:51:59 AM

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We live in a world where the term research is tossed around pretty readily, often with little clarity on what it really means or how it can be applied. It’s important to understand that research represents a significant umbrella which covers a wide variety of methods and techniques. When it comes to market research, learning how specific methods and techniques are leveraged can be crucial to determining utility for your business and brand. Arming yourself with a baseline knowledge of how different research methods work together will allow you to paint a complete picture of answers to your business questions.
 Market research relies largely upon using both quantitative and qualitative research. While quantitative data provides measurable facts and statistics about a given population, qualitative research is what brings this data to life by providing deeper insights and awareness of consumer thoughts, opinions, and ideas. 

What is Qualitative Research?

Qualitative research is research that relies upon first-hand observation or conversational questioning which acts as a pathway to uncovering in-depth motivations behind consumer behaviors and opinions. From follow-up questions to creating environments, situations, and scenarios in which consumers feel comfortable and can be observed in natural settings, researchers are able to glean deeper insights that may not normally be evident through quantitative research alone.

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What is the Value of Qualitative Research?

Qualitative research takes a deeper look at underlying opinions, reasons, and motivations  behind consumer behaviors. The results are dense, detailed insights into a person’s thoughts and feelings. Essentially, it’s research that gives “voice” and persona to data. For example, if a consumer chooses a product, quantitative data can note that the product was chosen. In contrast, qualitative data can offer observations about product placement, interactions with the shopping environment, actions of the shopper, and the shoppers' thoughts and feelings about the entire experience and their individual experience.

One of the biggest advantages qualitative research has is its ability to provide deeper insight into consumer responses or observations and obtain more detailed descriptions and explanations of their experiences, behaviors, and beliefs—this is how we answer the “why” and “how” questions mentioned earlier.

What Are Qualitative Research Methods?

Qualitative research methods include a variety of ways for researchers to observe and interact with consumers, often in more natural settings or environments that enable and facilitate openness. In these settings, consumers often settle into familiar patterns or drop the “guard” we sometimes see when they know they are part of a research project; this makes their responses or reactions valuable.

Interviews

An individual interview can be conducted over the phone, via Skype, Zoom, or in person. The idea is to ask your ideal user a series of questions and follow-ups to learn what motivates them to buy a product like yours. Further, interviews enable researchers to dig a bit deeper into a customer’s thoughts and feelings. In understanding consumer emotions and mindsets, businesses can better position their brands and products to tap into what is often revealed through qualitative research and follow-up questions.

Focus Groups (digitally-based and in-person)

Focus groups have traditionally been conducted in person; however, online focus groups are becoming more common practice.These groups provide a safe and comfortable environment for individuals to talk about their thoughts and feelings surrounding your product or offering. Participants can freely discuss how they feel about your product, brand, or more and, because the conversation is casual, they often reveal useful information. 

Online focus groups can be more cost and time efficient and reach a wider set of participants.

Observations/Ethnographies

360 Market Reach conducts observational research in a variety of settings to help better understand how users interact with products in different spaces. While video observations in a person’s home enable businesses to see how consumers react to products in use, in-person observations of shopping behavior allow businesses to watch how consumers react to a product in the store. 

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Online Communities

360 Market Reach uses its online communities for both qualitative and quantitative research. However, when it comes to qualitative research, online communities help market research teams leverage the speed and access provided by technology. These communities help gather consumer thoughts and ideas in a particular space, and gain quick-turn insights. In fact, 360 Market Reach has invested significant time and effort into developing industry-specific market research online communities (MROC) we use to conduct both quantitative and qualitative research efforts.

How 360 Market Reach Employs Qualitative Research

Depending on the needs of a client or the study, 360 Market Reach can tailor its research methods to get the information and data a client needs. That said, we actively employ qualitative research to provide a full 360 degree view of consumer behavior and sentiment. 

For example, when a mass market food and grocery retailer sought to enter the natural and organic market, the 360 Market Reach team was tasked with helping them develop a line of store branded products that could compete with the boutique brands dominating the space. In order to understand how best to position their brand against competitors, researchers needed to use qualitative research to discover how consumers felt about very specific product attributes including product benefits and performance, pricing, packaging, and more.

Through a variety of research methods, including in-store intercepts, surveys, interviews, and more, we were able to help the chain understand consumer sentiment and behavior within the natural/organic market category. As a result, their brand and product line was able to be more responsive to consumer sentiment, preferences, and even unspoken needs. Ultimately, the launch was successful and the product line was able to thrive and expand given the unique insights and information provided through a range of research methods.  

360 Market Reach prides itself on providing a complete picture to enhance your understanding of your target audience’s needs and wants. That means we work with our clients to fully grasp the questions and challenges facing them. Then, we build a research plan that utilizes our best tools and strategies, leverages our experience and expertise, and puts them on a path to success.  Whether it's our consumer sentiment or consumer trend studies or tailored research for your business or brand, we’re here and ready to help you get answers. Reach out to our team today and let’s talk!
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Topics: Qualitative Research