How Is Qualitative Research Used In Marketing

How Is Qualitative Research Used In Marketing


Qualitative market research is any research conducted using observation, semi-structured or unstructured questioning. It brings you the details and the depth to understand their full implications Qualitative research in and of itself is not conclusive, however, it can be used to…

  • Understand something (concepts, thoughts, experiences)
  • Explain quantitative research results
  • Conduct market research when more structured research is not possible or appropriate

Qualitative research is a good first step to take when conducting market research, so let’s take a look at a few different types of research techniques that you may perform in a qualitative research job role:


1. In-Depth Interviews (IDIs)

An IDI can be conducted over the phone, via video call or in person. The idea is to ask your ideal user a series of questions and follow-ups to learn what motivates them. You should go into the interview with some questions prepared ahead of time (this is called a discussion guide), but if they say something interesting, be sure to ask follow-up questions that dig deeper.


2. Focus Groups

Focus groups are conducted in person or online and are meant to provide a safe and comfortable environment for your users to talk about their thoughts and feelings.

An advantage of using focus groups is that you get to see the consumer’s verbal and non-verbal reactions. Plus different members of the group can bounce off each other’s thoughts and ideas, which means you’ll get even greater insights.


3. Observations

Observations of shopping behaviour allow you to actually watch the consumer react in real-time, meaning you get to see their actual responses (both verbal and non-verbal) as opposed to what they would claim on a written survey.

This is useful as it highlights the challenges that arise from different display issues, clutter or distractions. You may also interact with consumers to get deeper insights during the process and to get feedback on design, for example.


4. Lifestyle Immersion / ethnography

Lifestyle immersion is when you attend an event, such as a party or a family gathering. This allows you to get an uninterrupted view of your user’s attitudes and behaviours. This is another great way to get candid insight in a comfortable, familiar setting.

During these activities, observe your users having a dialogue with their friends. Listening to real-world conversations is a really powerful way to get a deeper understanding of their desires, frustrations, and motivations.


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