Reasons Why Qualitative Research Matters

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Market Research is an Important Part of Business Development

Market Research is an important part of marketing and business development – crucial to helping a business discover whether the product or service they provide is actually what is desired by their customers.

The data collected through market research will help in the business decision making process. Instead of capturing the quantitative aspects, qualitative research measures, more subjective aspects that influence consumers. Qualitative research is aimed at gaining a deeper understanding of the consumer meaning behind their buying decisions and how this influences their behavior.

How Qualitative Research is Defined

In today’s “Big Data” world where most things are quantified, counted and put into charts and statistics, qualitative research has a place at the onset of the research process.  Since people don’t go around in everyday life expressing their emotions and perceptions on scales of “1 to 5” or “1 to 10”, qualitative research can help tell part of the story that cannot be quantified.  Qualitative research is important in the first step of the market research process in that it helps to gain a broad understanding of the “why” and “how” of the underlying reasons and motivations behind consumer buying decisions. It looks at why people think, feel, react and behave in the way that they do. The end goal of qualitative research is to get an in-depth view of the deeper motives behind consumer purchases.

Traditionally, this type of research was only conducted through in-person interviews and focus groups.  Today, it has been adapted to also fit into the digital age with the option to conduct panels online and receive mobile feedback. No matter the venue, the process still remains the same – to take a small sample size, spend time with the individuals, and learn about their impressions and motivations. Samples tend to be small, because the aim is to generate concepts, strategies or an appreciation of processes that govern groups or institutions.

The approach of qualitative research is open-ended and can be adapted and changed throughout the process. It can in essence be adapted to any type of research that doesn’t about know “how many” or “what number”.  This type of research enhances the quality of the data collected and the insights it generates


Reasons for Qualitative Market Research

The qualitative research approach is a better fit in some cases, whereby the following are some of the reasons you would want to perform this type of study:


  1. Exploration: Purposes: When a customer cannot articulate or are misunderstanding the use or information of a product.
  2. Complexity: When you want to describe the complexity of how users interact with a product.
  3. Context: To understand the context and environment a consumer is in, helps to better understand the product, places, people and challenges a customer faces.
  4. Explanation: If you need to explain links or mechanisms that cause things.   For example if you want to know why people are calling customer service instead of using a mobile app.
  5. Measures Don’t Fit the Problem: Many consumer interactions are hard to quantify, so observing how a user struggles to accomplish a goal and probing them for answers, helps to define what needs may need to be measured.

Finally, a qualitative market research study provides companies with an objective view on how and why their customers think and use a product the way they do. Investing in this research pays for itself many times over in that the findings have the ability to affect the company’s branding, messaging, product development, positioning, pricing and customer service. At the end of the day, the result can transform how a business operates.

Are you interested in performing a qualitative study?  Focus Insite can get you the people.