Marketing research plays a crucial role in the implementation of commercial strategy; and both qualitative and quantitative research have their own unique advantages and considerations. So what kind of research is best?
The truth is that both types of research are valuable for informing business and marketing decisions. To determine which is better, start by understanding the differences between the two types of research, the potential impacts of each, and your business goals.
What is Quantitative Research?
Quantitative research is numbers-based and uses statistical and quantifiable methods to gather information about a target market. Results are measurable through this method, and quantitative research can be used to test and validate hypotheses. Examples of tools for conducting quantitative research include questionnaires and surveys, the questions of which can be closed (structured) or open (unstructured). The latter, open-ended questions, would provide you with qualitative data.
What quantitative research method should your company consider for its initiative?
Questionnaires and surveys are forms of quantitative research and, although similar, they have two different meanings. Questionnaires are a set of written questions that can be considered as written interviews. The main difference between a survey and a questionnaire is that the survey includes the collection and analysis of information while the questionnaire is the list of questions itself. In other words, questionnaires are part of the survey process.
Surveys are a great way for organizations to find communication gaps in what they communicate to their customers and prospects in the market. The results of a survey can lead to awareness of areas of opportunity within or around your company’s offerings and brand. Surveys can also be conducted internally, giving teams the opportunity to share their views and provide feedback on the individual experiences of their employees.
The survey has a number of advantages, including the ability to collect data in an unbiased manner. Additionally, survey results can be used to apply inferences to a larger population when a large enough pool of responses is collected.
What is qualitative research?
Qualitative research, simply put, is non-numerical data. This type of research is used to collect information about a target group of customers, employees or prospects to inform the overall marketing strategy, from visual, textual and auditory data. Gathered through conversations and observations of individuals within a target market, the results can be used to uncover sentiments about the services and offers provided, or those that a business plans to offer in the case of market research used for product development.
What qualitative research method should your company consider for its initiative?
Open-ended survey questions and interviews are forms of qualitative research that each serve different purposes.
Open-ended survey questions are questions that are not limited to a specific set of options, allowing respondents or survey takers to answer questions in their own words. Examples of use cases for open-ended survey questions include the desire to understand how respondents think without the time or resources to spend conducting an interview. Consider the level of effort involved in analyzing open survey results before developing a survey with only this type of question used.
Interviewing in qualitative research is the meeting or exchanging of information around a topic with the goal of uncovering key insights for your business. Interviews can take place on an individual or group level and can take place in person, by telephone or by videoconference. Examples of use cases for interviews include when you need to dig deeper and understand feelings on a smaller scale. Consider interviewing both clients and potential customers when collecting customer sentiment.
Unlike its counterpart, qualitative research can help organizations drill down to uncover deeper insights by discussing specific experiences, and it comes with the ability to understand data points and observations in context. This can also be an opportunity to ask clarifying questions. From this information, teams can develop themes based on what is seen or heard and use those findings to make decisions for the business.
What are the impacts of each?
Both internally and externally, the insights uncovered can help companies understand their most profitable markets and offerings, uncover untapped opportunities, identify business differentiators, and determine key competitors. This information can also inform the development of messaging, which can be used to communicate company information. brand history. Consider engaging an external party to conduct the interviews or to structure the surveys in a way that encourages increased engagement on larger initiatives such as product development or brand renewal. However, if you decide to conduct a survey yourself, there are many tools and templates available online.
The results of each type of search can have a huge impact on the success of a business, helping you provide a better experience, whether that’s for employees, customers, or prospects. Research is also important to maintain a competitive advantage; allowing businesses to keep track of engagement levels with employees and customers. Once initial results are discovered, organizations should consider periodic check-ins to keep the pulse on sentiment over time, as appropriate.
How the two can work together
The power of qualitative and quantitative research becomes amplified when used together. Results from the quantitative stage can be used to guide discussions and conversations in the qualitative stage, providing an opportunity to validate and gather deeper insights. When considering conducting research, start by clarifying the objectives and understanding the information needed to make an informed decision. Begin with a meeting among key stakeholders to determine the overall goal and develop an action plan. Both forms of research can be useful in informing decisions and, in fact, neither is more important than the other. Both provide information, insights, and different sets of data to work from.