Deciding Between Qual and Quant Research
The world is experiencing a socio-economic renaissance: A consumer cultural shift driven by a heightened awareness of climate change, sustainable business practices, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within the corporate landscape and marketing communications, health and nutrition and other socio-economic concerns that are constantly reshaping the way consumers think, feel, and behave along the consumer purchasing journey.
Consequently, these changes in market and consumer culture are inadvertently transforming the way businesses must approach the development of their product and service marketing campaigns.
In order to tap into these changing consumer trends and understand the target audience’s wants and needs in a bid to create an impactful marketing campaign, businesses need to invest in an intuitive market research strategy, executed with precision, designed to enable the discovery of actionable insights aimed at fueling business growth in the ever evolving consumer market.
In Episode 4 of ‘FAQs with Jenny’, our Founder and CEO, Jenny Karubian breaks down the dichotomy of market research: Quantitative and Qualitative, and explains the type of insights which can be garnered from each methodology. Watch the video or read on to learn the difference between quantitative and qualitative market research, and how to develop an intuitive market research strategy using each of these methodologies to understand your target audience amidst a consumer cultural revolution and transform your business through a powerful marketing campaign.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN QUAL AND QUANT RESEARCH?
Jenny breaks down the quantitative-qualitative market research dichotomy by first offering a concise explanation of what quantitative research entails.
- Quantitative research: She states, ‘Quantitative research refers to a survey. Any kind of study where we are asking people straightforward, close-ended questions: “Do you like this, yes or no?”, “On a scale of 1 -5, what would you rate this?”… Usually, the appeal of doing a survey like that is we get a lot of people to participate. Minimum a 100. Sometimes we go up to samples of a 1000. And this can really give you some good data to let you know the sentiment from a large population’.
Jenny then provides a detailed explanation of what qualitative research encompasses.
- Qualitative research: ‘Qualitative research is the art of sitting down and actually talking to people. Usually, we do this in a group, such as a focus group. Sometimes we do this one-on-one, through an interview. Then there’s also some asynchronous or digital ways to do this through online communities and essentially, this is where we go for highly nuanced insights. This is where we ask open-ended questions. So rather, “Do you like this, yes or no?”, like we would on a quantitative survey, it’s “What do you like about this?”, “What do you dislike about this?”. It gives the consumer a much larger, much greater opportunity to express how they feel, express what they think and give us a much more nuanced read than we would get out of a survey’.
|Large sample size of 100 – 1000
|Usually a small group of 6 – 30 participants
|Closed-ended questions, usually multiple choice
|An objective statistical analysis generalizing consumer behavior into trends
|A subjective analysis providing deep insights into consumer behavior by unearthing consumer sentiments and opinions
|Graphs, numbers, statistics, tables and charts
MARKET RESEARCH STRATEGY: DESIGNING FOR IMPACT
According to Harvard Business Review (HBR), a staggering 60% – 90% of business strategies never fully launch. Research conducted by Bridges Business Consultancy recognized that 48% of leaders spend less than one day per month discussing strategy. HBR further reveals that business’ failure to successfully launch strategies is due to the following 4 factors: Failure to grasp what the problem is, not understanding the organization’s capabilities, failure to factor in limited company resources and employee bandwidth, not understanding the cultural landscape.
In elaborating the fourth and final factor, HBR states, ‘When strategy implementation loses momentum, it’s a result of uncertainty’. So, how do you resolve issues surrounding uncertainty, especially as millennial, Gen Z, and Gen Alpha consumers are moving the consumer cultural needle? Ready to Launch Research recommends investing in a market research strategy aimed at eliminating any and all uncertainty which would consequently help inform the development of an efficient and effective business strategy that’s ready for takeoff.
Companies engaged in a new product / service launch, branding or rebranding efforts, developing a compelling pricing strategy based on a competitor analysis, deciding who their ideal target audience is via a market segmentation study, and other factors in marketing and selling their offerings to emerging markets, can limit the uncertainty surrounding each of these factors by investing in quantitative and qualitative market research in the form of surveys, social listening, focus groups, in-depth interviews, creative testing, market research online communities, and ethnography. Jenny recommends designing your market research strategy on the basis of a ‘Mixed Methodology’ model owing to its efficiency in generating actionable consumer insights at scale.
WHAT IS MIXED METHODOLOGY AND WHY SHOULD I INVEST?
In designing an effective market research strategy, Jenny recommends tapping into relevant actionable insights by adopting a Mixed Methodology which she describes as getting ‘the best of both worlds’.
A mixed methodology involves a two-step process whereby the market research agency initially conducts a qualitative study like a focus group or in-depth interview aimed at gathering insights from a small sample of the target audience. Once the data gathered from the qualitative study is analyzed, the second step is designing a survey based on the research findings generated by the initial study in a bid to ‘validate the insights’.
Accordingly, by leveraging a mixed methodology businesses can tap into nuanced consumer sentiments via qualitative research studies and then proceed to validate such findings at scale via a quantitative research study with sample sizes of anywhere between 100 – 1000 people.
CONSUMER CULTURAL TRENDS
The businesses and marketing teams behind the most powerful and impactful marketing campaigns of history have invested in market research in order to understand the nuances of their target audience’s thoughts and behavior. However, in the post-pandemic consumer climate, awareness and activism is on the rise fueled by access to information via the internet resulting in shifting consumer mindsets. Consider the following changing consumer sentiments in an age of increased activism:
- In Deloitte’s #GetOutInFront global research report reveals that 23% of nearly 10,000 consumers across six different countries say they will switch to purchasing products from companies that share their values on environmental issues, 42% have already made the switch because of their stance on the environment, and 21% have encouraged others to purchase from organizations whose values align with their opinion on an issue.
- Wall Street Journal reported that while 2020 U.S. Census data indicates that in the decade prior, ‘the white population has declined for the first time in history, and people who identify as multiracial, Hispanic, and Asian are contributing to much of the population growth’, a 2021 Deloitte survey of 11,500 global consumers reveals that ‘57% of consumers say they are more loyal to brands that demonstrate commitment to addressing social inequities in all their actions’.
- According to a McKinsey & Company online survey of around 80,000 consumers in four different countries, ‘At least 70% of the survey respondents across the markets surveyed want to be healthier. Food is essential to achieving that goal, and about 50% of consumers, across age groups, say healthy eating is a top priority for them’.
By leveraging qualitative and quantitative market research solutions, companies can unlock actionable insights into the changing consumer landscape and develop business strategies and marketing campaigns geared for growth.
An intuitive market research strategy involving quantitative and qualitative insights is imperative to fueling consumer-led innovation and for eliminating uncertainty for optimized business strategy creation within any given industry amidst a changing consumer culture.
If you want to leverage our market research strategy expertise, quantitative and qualitative market research solutions, book a consultation here.