Trying to implement a successful marketing strategy without qualitative and quantitative research is equivalent to going fishing without the right bait and knowledge of where the fish swim. For those unfamiliar with marketing research, these two words may sound complicated and technical. We’ve provided a breakdown on what quantitative and qualitative research mean and how these methodologies are necessary for the success of your marketing strategy.
Qualitative research is exploratory in nature and the first step in understanding your audience. Through investigatory devices such as focus groups, in-depth interviews, and observations, qualitative research provides broad information and allows researchers to uncover helpful psychographics about your target. Unstructured or loosely structured research techniques encourage participants to fully express themselves, even in ways that seemingly do not relate to a company’s product or service. For example, a mediator of a focus group may engage participants in a picture-word association activity to uncover subconscious details about the participant. Or the mediator could spark a conversation amongst the group that exposes an unknown issue with the company in mind. Thorough qualitative research provides information on the underlying motivations and reasons behind emotions, thoughts, and behaviors.
Quantitative research, unlike its broad and all-encompassing sister, aims to confirm hypotheses generated by qualitative explorations. Utilizing a statistically-representative sample of the target population, researchers implement tightly-structured devices such as questionnaires, surveys, interviews, heavily controlled clinical trials, and rating scales to obtain conclusive information. Those findings then become quantified into numbers and statistics, which make comparing and summarizing data easier.
Usually, these two methodologies are used in unison. Although illustrated above as a two-step process, it is not uncommon to bounce back and forth between qualitative and quantitative research until an answer is found. How researchers utilize these methodologies generally depend on the needs and goals of the company.
The information provided by qualitative and quantitative research isn’t limited to the consumer. These methods also provide insight into your competition and the current landscape of your market. By having a clear picture of your company, competitors, and target audience, these methods help to avoid wasted advertising dollars and efforts in the wrong places. The right information, utilized properly in a marketing strategy, produces audience-converting advertising. It also helps form a strong foundation for brand building.
Marketing research shouldn’t only commence at the conception of a brand or campaign. As your market expands and your target audience evolves, so must your research. Qualitative and quantitative research isn’t so much asking questions as it is knowing when to ask, what to ask, and how to ask to reveal unforeseen issues and solutions for your business.
For Xenex, a hospital disinfection company based in San Antonio, quality marketing research was the key to resolve their productivity issues. Not experiencing the growth and market penetration that it desired, Xenex reached out to Screamer Co. for our expertise in healthcare marketing and brand building. We began our qualitative research by doing something many large advertising agencies won’t do: accompanied the sales team at Xenex and attended a three-day sales training session. This allowed us to get unfiltered information straight from Xenex’s channels by observing the company on the ground level. We also retargeted their audience to C-level executives of hospitals with high rates of hospital-acquired infections. Equipped with creative advertising and new sale pitches that appealed to the consumers’ sense of urgency and need, Xenex flourished.
The result of this new marketing strategy allowed Xenex to experience 18 months of increased sales and nation-wide recognition for their outstanding technology and product efficiency.
Our minds always churn to provide our clients with innovative marketing strategies grounded in success-producing research. If you are contemplating a new advertising campaign, are experiencing low sales, or have realized you’re slipping behind in the market, you’re a perfect candidate for our research services.