Grow Your Business: A Market Research Primer

Market Research

Options for Qualitative Market Research

Qualitative marketing research stands out from quantitative marketing research in that data is gathered from a small group of respondents and is not put through statistical analysis. Author Malcolm Gladwell has pointed out that, “Market research, when it is observational or when it is interpretative, is profoundly useful.” However he warns practitioners to consider the right approach to interpret the data obtained in such ways.
The main two types of qualitative research are focus groups and in-depth conversations.

  • In-depth interviews are conducted one-on-one and are best suited for understating personal, opinions, beliefs and values. Busy, time-pressed high-level executives prefer this approach to focus groups. Also, this type of interview is more cost-intensive than focus groups because they require highly skilled interviewers that not only must be able to gather useful information over extended periods of time but also must be able to interpret from a wide range of responses. In-depth interviewers make use of several techniques such as laddering, hidden issue questioning and symbolic analysis.
  • Focus groups are best suited for groups, usually up to 12 participants. Led by a moderator, the focus group will go through a prepared discussion guide in which the subject of discussion (e.g., company, product, service) may or may not be revealed. The activity of focus groups is often recorded in order to provide context to the dialogue from participants through their facial expressions, gestures and language nuances.

Both in-depth interviews and focus groups can also be implemented asynchronically through online tools.

At the Core of Marketing

Qualitative market research looks to probe for the answer to deep questions such as why people feel the way they do, and why they do what they do. The main types of qualitative research are focus groups and one-on-one in-depth interviews. On the other hand, quantitative market research seeks to answer specific questions such as how many people feel, think, or act in a particular way. The main forms of quantitative research are polls and surveys.
Market research is the most important part of marketing because it is at the core of what the field is all about: establishing the relationship between the individual and the brand, and fully understanding that relationship so that you can articulate it in such a way that other people want to try out the brand.



About the author

Damian Davila

Damian Davila is a professional marketer living in sunny Honolulu, Hawaii. Since 2008 Damian has been writing articles on online marketing and reports on the latest SEO and startup news at his blog. Born in Ecuador, Damian has traveled extensively and held positions in Mexico, Germany, Italy and the United States. He has a MBA from the University of Hawaii and a Masters in Educational Technology from a joint program between the Tecnologico de Monterrey and the University of British of Columbia.