Types of researchBy Tom Dougherty
Types of research and methods that work best
Qualitative Market Research
There are many types of research available today. Qualitative studies seek to understand the language of the customer and uncover possible values. One-on-one interviews (the gold standard of qualitative research) are a form of qualitative research (as are the inferior and often misleading focus groups).
Qualitative market research is never intended to quantify importance because it is never projectable to the market at large. All too often we see clients who made disastrous marketing decisions based upon qualitative assumptions. Decisions should NEVER be made as a result of qualitative research. It is a misuse of the methodology.
Quantitative market research
Quantitative market research is designed to test findings from qualitative research and quantify the suppositions. It is designed to accurately measure, within a margin of error, the levels to which the ideas that are tested are considered true and actionable. Projectable quantitative research can be administered as a randomized telephone survey or a randomized panel. In each of these cases, the N (number of respondents) must be large enough to be projectable.
Other non-projectable types of research
You may be surprised that a significant N does not indicate a projectable market research study. Online studies, email studies, and a host of other methodologies are self-selecting (meaning the respondent is in control of deciding to participate) and, regardless of the sample size, they are not projectable studies. These studies have become popular because they are inexpensive but they are not quantitative in nature and have unreliable findings.
All of our research begins with qualitative research in which one-on-one interviews are conducted by our Resultant team of experts. This research is not the end to research but the starting point to more meaningful explorations with projectable samples.
We are looking for the issues that drive purchasing decisions, the layers you find underneath most brand and marketing research. We are looking for the switching triggers and the market forces that affect those decisions and behaviors. The results from our qualitative research, which dig into the core beliefs or precepts of target audiences, are then tested in projectable, quantitative research.
Resultant can also look at your market in other ways that go beyond typical marketing studies to gain further insight into your customers and, more importantly, into the customers of your competition.
Ethnographic market research:
Ethnographic is a descriptive study of societies, measuring the social influences that shape behavior. These can be examined by direct, first-hand observation of daily behavior as well as with in-depth interviews. We have used this technique in a handful of consumer studies.
Elasticity studies determine the economic viability of a product or service and measure the demand so costs can be determined. Well-constructed elasticity studies not only predict the correct price point but also measure the value of that price point in conjunction with other variables.
Conjoint analysis is a specialized type of research that embraces a statistical technique that determines how target audiences value features of a product or service. It allows respondents to assign attributes most influential in selecting specific products.
What is most important? The most important part of brand research, however, is that it results in projectable data. This is not research that measures the effectiveness of individual campaigns. This is research into how your company is perceived, what drives behavior and preference, and how you can claim a spot in the minds of target audiences to steal market share.
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Below find more links that delve more deeply into the types of research that best suits your needs.
Great brand research asks more than a traditional usage and attitude study does. Supplemental research, like focus groups and name testing, is misleading and a waste of money. Click here for more information.