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Market Research Methods

Marketing research knowledge has significantly increased in response to growth in disruptive innovations including the internet and technology development. In my experience, I have found that market research has been essential when repositioning my business to support product advancement, and in helping discover marketing opportunities and expanding market shares through various conveyance channels. Additionally, marketing research has helped influence the performance and effectiveness of my marketing strategies by helping to find my ideal customer with little error and without wasting time and resources on customers that were never going to purchase.

To help with analyzing markets, there are two useful forms of marketing research; primary and secondary.

Primary Research. This is a research methodology where you interact with your customers and gather as much information as you can directly from them. The information is generally collected through surveys, questionnaires, feedback forms, and interviews.

Secondary Research. This research relies on information which has been collected by others (blogs, previous researchers, data channels). You should conduct this type of research by collecting and analyzing articles, web pages, and books as references for the collected research data.

Phenomenology. A phenomenology research method uses analysis to capture individual customer experiences. This method is used for unfolding customer experiences by examining the uniqueness and commonalities of events and circumstances. The data collection techniques used in phenomenology research include in-depth analysis, documentary, and observation.

Quantitative, Qualitative, and Mixed Methods

When conducting research, you should first decide the method of research you intend to use. Research study methodologies are characterized as either qualitative, quantitative, or a combination of both, which is referred to as mixed methods. Of these methods, none can be considered the best method without factoring in the goals and objectives of your research.

I know it may seem a bit overwhelming, but understanding research methods are critical if you desire a certain outcome for your marketing efforts. For example, when I’m putting together an AdWords campaign, I would rather put together my campaign based on data collected from a quantitative method versus a qualitative method. Otherwise, I would waste time and money guessing what to do based on trial and error. A quantitative research method is better for helping to pinpoint your customer and develop a more effective marketing campaign.

Quantitative. A quantitative research method is beneficial for collecting data in the form of tests, reliance, probability theory, and surveys for analyzing statistical hypotheses that relate to your business, marketing goal, or research questions. A quantitative research method is best used when you want to analyze numbers. For example, you could use a quantitative approach when sending out a survey where you expect to get the survey results in numerical format, or if the survey has multiple choice questions.

Qualitative. Qualitative research consists of using real-world experiences and interpreting the phenomena. Unlike quantitative research, a qualitative examination is non-measurable. This research method can be used to help you understand and discover experiences, perspectives, and insight of your customers. An advantage of a qualitative approach is that the study participants are not constrained to a predetermined set of responses such as those in multiple choice or numerical questions. Meaning, through qualitative research, the participants would give their broad perception versus clicking a checkbox or radio button like in surveys.

Unlike a quantitative method, a qualitative examination technique can help to assess why customers behave a certain way. The method also helps in discovering boundaries that influence thought by breaking down points of interest and gathering information from in-depth sources. A quantitative method often makes the assumption that there is a singular truth that exists, which does not include human perception. A drawback of using a quantitative approach to collect data is that it is expensive considering the amount of time needed to collect and analyze the data.

Mixed Methods. Mixed methods are useful when you want to combine qualitative and quantitative methods by linking their differences. The key principle of mixed methods is that various forms of data can be collected by using multiple strategies and methods. Mixed methods can assist in reflecting complementary strengths and weaknesses of qualitative and quantitative methods, and produce opportunities for approaches with weaknesses by correcting method biases.

Determining whether to use a qualitative or quantitative method is dependent upon the importance of how you desire to collect your data. Simply stated, qualitative techniques define and describe while quantitative techniques estimate and quantify. When creating a new marketing strategy, neither qualitative nor quantitative measures are more important than the other when determining value and sales. If you are confused on which method to use, testing both measures will help you find the best outcomes.

Marketing Research

It is difficult to be both a specialist in your profession and an expert in understanding your current and potential customers. If your expertise is in being a chef or hair stylist, you shouldn’t expect to launch a top-notch website or marketing campaign using analytics, data analysis, or customer insight without actually taking the time to understand marketing research in the same way that you learned your profession. In developing marketing strategies and enhancing your knowledge, it is essential to conduct market research to better comprehend your customer base and their needs. Like any profession, effective marketing requires time and dedication to gain the experience necessary to properly research and analyze your customers, considering they do not always think, act, believe, or have the same priorities or values as you. The keys to understanding how to grow your business are in researching your industry and target consumer group. Once you have researched your customers and analyzed the data, you need to develop a targeted strategy to grow sales. Only then will your marketing efforts and business flourish.

Marketing Research Methods

Marketing and advertising has a direct affect on sales by reducing price sensitivity. If a customer likes and is satisfied with a product, they are more likely to recommend that product to a friend. Marketing is best when it delivers a value to customers efficiently and effectively. Researchers agree that qualitative techniques define and describe, while quantitative techniques estimate and quantify. Marketing metrics are an important part of evaluating the control process of marketing. When creating a new marketing strategy, neither qualitative nor quantitative measures are more important than the other when determining value and sales. Testing both measures will generate the most affective results.
According to the evidence from the Coca-Cola Company, taste was considered the most important factor for their declined sales between the 1970s and 1980s. The New Coke was developed to enhance the flavor and generate sales. With the approval of more than half of the 200,000 blind product testers, the New Coke was introduced to replace the original flavored Coke. Because of the unfavorable results and backlash from consumers, the New Coke was withdrawn from the market and the Coke Classic was introduced with the original ingredients. In regards to the Coca-Cola Company’s quantitative study and the New Coke, the test provided inconclusive results because of the lack of information given to the participants. Though the participants enjoyed the flavor of the New Coke, it did not outweigh their desire and loyalty of the original Coke.
Objective-based research is called quantitative research, and subjective-based research is considered qualitative research. Quantitative is considered hard marketing metrics, while qualitative is soft measures. Quantitative evaluates assets with monetary value, such as sales, gross margins, and profits. Qualitative evaluates intangible assets that indirectly derive from value such as loyalty, likability, and satisfaction. When gaining feedback from consumers, the appropriate questions must be asked in order to produce valuable and affective results. Quantitative objects are ideal for businesses that desire to increase their return on investment. Much of qualitative research is used only in subjectivist-type research, which uses either communication or observation. An example of communication-based research includes the simple form of asking questions to participants. To effectively measure qualitative research, there needs to be a means of recording and measuring behavior and reactions.
I do not believe that marketers should choose between quantitative and qualitative research methods. Both measures are important and produce valuable insight into consumer behavior and value. The New Coke’s example of relying on only one type of study displays poor predictive validity. A consumers’ like toward an item is not a good predictor of purchase. Had the Coke Company taken a segmented approach and kept both products on the store shelves, they could have had a better idea of which the users liked best and which would generate the most sales in a side-by-side comparison.
Quantitative research focuses on similar topics as qualitative, such as how people feel, think, and behave. However, instead of asking participants directly, it uses structured data to test the information and conclude a hypothesis. Quantitative research can be used to objectively analyze information using calculations raw data and statistics. This type of research often test its methods using experiments, segmenting, and surveys, which can be used to collect the data. While qualitative research is not structured in nature, quantitative is very structured and based solely on factual data and calculations. A quantitative research survey would include closed questions. Quantitative research results are usually numerical, and data used to obtain the information includes phone calls, face-to-face, mail, and surveys.
the best solution is to use both qualitative and quantitative approach. Qualitative research focuses on analyzing the in-depth details of why consumers behave the way in which they do. It searches for the barriers in place that may affect their reasoning. For instance, a new company may want to know things about their product in conjunction with how it feels, smells, and taste. Using a qualitative approach would assists in finding the appropriate marketing or product solution. A qualitative research type setting would be used to collect user information and explore the reasoning for their responses. In addition to those responses, details could be collected to determine how they arrived at their conclusions. Those details could include motives, emotions, and mental triggers. A focus group type setting is perfect for conducting qualitative research. Focus groups allow for in depth interviews with the participants that can be used to gain valuable product insight.

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