How to Conduct Qualitative Marketing Research

There are many ways to do qualitative research, but before choosing the means to do a qualitative marketing research, there are some questions that can help determine which could be the most effective style to use.

As a company, what you want to know specifically can be the basis of what answers to look for when the research is done. For what purpose will this research be conducted? Do you want to get information because you are planning to create something entirely new? Do you want to know how a current product or service can be improved? Or are you thinking of removing some goods and services?

The next question to answer is who you want to get these answers from – who the target market is. Should they be young people, businessmen, the general public, and so on. When all those above are laid out clearly it is easy to choose how it will be done.

Choosing a qualitative marketing firm will rely on the method of how the information is gathered; if you prefer ethnography, or a compilation of recorded narratives or not, if you want everything in video or not.

Here are the methods of qualitative marketing research:

A. Observation – in this method a researcher will observe a subject in their comfort zones. A researcher’s knowledge in the field and training distinguishes their keenness of observation from the respondents.

B. Interviews – these are usually done one on one, where a participant will answer guided questions and be encouraged to share other details in the process of the research. Some interviews may be done on the phone or in person and nowadays, even online.

C. Focus Groups – a group of respondents are put together to join one research. There is a group facilitator who meets with them once or more times in a week depending on the necessity and they discuss concerns, questions, given by the handler. Online bulletins, or being in a place provided by the marketing research firms are ways in which a group may meet.

D. Mobile and Internet Tools – depending on the target market, different tools can be maximized to gain information as accurately as possible. Mobile and internet research is a method used to get real time responses from the respondents and even more visual.

In the end of the data gathering process, on the analyses and possible solutions or recommendations are all included in a report that could be a combination of the qualitative and quantitative aspects in order for companies to visualize the result of the research and how to go about using it in preparing their next move.

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Creating Great Marketing Research Begins With Thorough Preparation – The Marketing Research Brief

What makes GREAT marketing research? It’s not necessarily the most sophisticated analysis. It’s not necessarily a brilliantly creative questionnaire. It’s answering marketing questions in a way that lets managers take ACTION to solve problems and increase profits.

And the best marketing research is done with a strong, common understanding between the marketing researchers (either in-house or external) and the clients (managers). But if you have ever cringed at the notion of getting those managers to sit down and go through the up-front thinking and discussion that leads to great research, it will help formalize and facilitate the process.

These are the essential questions that will help create your next marketing research project and get everyone involved in the project on the same page right from the start:

1. What is the budget for this project?

2. What business objective will we be addressing?

3. What is the objective of this marketing research project?

a. What problem are we trying to solve?

b. Has other research been done on this topic in the past? How well did it answer questions? Did achieve its goals?

4. What is the subject product/service?

a. What is the value proposition or brand position/differentiation of the product/service?

b. What are the key features of the product/service?

c. What are the key benefits of the product/service?

5. What action will we take with the information?

a. Who will take this action and are they involved in designing the research?

6. Who is the target audience for this research?

a. What is the size of the audience?

b. Do we have a list of these people? Do we have permission to use this list for marketing research?

c. What contact information do we have on this list?

d. What languages are needed for this marketing research? Will we do the translations in-house or externally?

e. How likely is it that the target population will respond to the survey? How busy are they? How motivated are they to provide their feedback? Do incentives need to be offered?

7. What is the best data collection methodology for the respondents?

a. Will we need to expose the respondents to graphics in the course of this interview?

8. Will the survey be conducted “blind” or will the survey sponsor be revealed?

9. How should we analyze the data?

a. How much do we want to slice the data?

b. Do we plan any multivariate analysis?

10. What is the appropriate sample size for the analysis?

11. Who is the audience for the research results?

12. How will the research results be reported?

13. Will in-person presentations be needed?

14. What taboos, if any, need to be avoided?

15. Is there anything else that needs to be conveyed about this project?

16. Do we have enough budget for this project to be done correctly?

Customize this list for your own situation, but this will provide a good starting point. And remember that Question 3 (what are our objectives and what is the problem we are solving) and Question 5 (what action will we take with the information) are the most important questions to answer. If you don’t get any further, answering those two questions will be a big step forward.

If you can’t answer these questions, or if there are too many divergent viewpoints on the answers to these questions, you probably are not ready to start the marketing research. Keep talking and challenging. Identify and fix the weaknesses, clarify the objectives and outcomes, and then start the process again with question #1.

Business Research

Business research is the systematic gathering of data, which, once analysed, can provide useful insights to facilitate profitable decision-making by organisations. With better, and more reliable data, decision-making tends to be quicker and or a higher quality. Furthermore, it can assist organisations in allowing them a greater and deeper understanding of the market place in which they operate. Whilst it is obvious that it should be undertaken, the reality is that it is carried out less frequently than it should. In today’s business world, time is particularly short. One of the casualties of this is detailed research as resources tend to be devoted to core activities.

There are a number of different areas of research, and I outline six of them below.

MARKET SECTOR RESEARCH

Successful businesses need to have a thorough understanding of the markets in which they operate. Such an understanding allows them to sell effectively by targeting customers. Furthermore, it allows companies to compete with other suppliers. Finally, it allows companies to identify new opportunities. There are a number of questions which can be addressed, but these are outside the scope of this article. General trends can be ascertained using published market information, and more detailed information can be gleaned from internal records.

INDUSTRY RESEARCH

There are a number of objectives of industry research, including:

· Understanding the industry structure, competition and levels of industry profitability;

· The assessment of an industry’s attractiveness;

· The identification of key success factors;

· To forecast future profitability;

· To deduce strategies to improve profitability.

COMPETITOR ANALYSIS

This covers a wide range of issues, including image and positioning, objectives and commitment, current and past strategies, organisation and culture, cost structure, exit barriers, strengths and weaknesses, size, growth, profitability, financial performance, and products and services marketed and sold.

It is worthwhile considering who your competitors are. Direct competition includes businesses in the same business. Businesses similar to yours are indirect competition.

CORPORATE RESEARCH

This is broadly similar to competitor analysis in both the issues considered and the models used. The emphasis, however, is not on the competition, but on other organisations. Such organisations might include potential partners, investors, advisors, suppliers or customers.

BUSINESS TOPIC RESEARCH

Often businesses want to understand a specific subject r topic better. Examples of questions include:

· What types of… exist?

· What are the advantages and disadvantages of each?

· What does… mean?

· How does the… framework/model work?

· What are the alternatives to… ?

ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL RESEARCH

This research subset analyses the following areas:

· Current, historic and forecast economic data;

· The strengths and weaknesses in the economy;

· Activities and sectors which are growing, shrinking, or stagnating;

· How economies, markets and businesses act and behave;

· Where and why businesses locate where they do;

· Who and what is driving economic growth.

This latter research is particularly useful if organisations are planning new products, new markets or new geographic regions.