In the 21st century, every business is aware of the importance of data-driven decision-making.
Most entrepreneurs, especially those running small businesses, are time-starved, and the prospect of conducting market research may seem like an uphill battle. However, it is crucial to fully understand your industry and niche as you continue to run your business.
Market research can either be qualitative or quantitative, and both approaches have their strengths. When combined, they not only help businesses understand their target audiences and competition but also increase brand awareness, revenue and growth. Whether it’s qualitative or quantitative data analysis, all businesses agree that data has the power to transform their operations. To be successful, businesses need to study the market and look at both sides of data analysis.
Let’s take a look at how these two research methods can help businesses grow.
What is qualitative research?
Qualitative research is a methodology that focuses on helping businesses understand how and why people behave in a particular way and why they make certain decisions. For example, if you want to change your branding, qualitative research will help you understand your customers’ responses to your new identity. This research method ensures the discussions you have are effectively giving you the insight you seek.
This type of research helps businesses prepare SWOT analysis, marketing plans, branding and pricing, product development, web design, social networking, and other online marketing strategies. It ensures your products and services provide the unique solution your target customers need.
Here are some questions that qualitative research will help you answer.
- How do your prospects and customers feel about your services/products?
- How do they choose between the different products or suppliers in the market?
- How are they influenced by branding and the design and packaging of products?
- What messaging influences them most or turns them off of a brand?
- Does price affect their decision-making? If so, how?
- Is there a demand for new products?
In most instances, it doesn’t cost you much to conduct this research, and it has the power to increase your chances of success. It also affects customer loyalty and helps you build long-term relationships with customers.
The best way to approach qualitative research is by conducting interviews either one-on-one or in groups.
These are direct interviews that can be carried out by phone or face-to-face. It gives your participants a personal touch and the chance to give you in-depth opinions and views of your products. This can be a great method, especially if you’re discussing confidential or sensitive details. There is no outside influence on the participant, so you can have candid and open conversations.
With focus groups, you get to choose a small sample of your target market to work with as a group. Experts recommend building groups of five to eight people. You can have a moderator to guide the group during the discussion to ensure they stay on topic and relevant outcomes are met. The moderator should be unbiased in order to solicit impartial and accurate answers from participants.
Benefits of qualitative research for businesses
- You can transcribe or record responses so you can analyze them at your convenience.
- It allows you to get in-depth information or details on pre-defined topics.
- It is cheaper to conduct compared to quantitative research because you don’t have to recruit a large volume of participants.
- You can carry it out at your convenience when you have time as you don’t have to interview everyone at once.
What is quantitative research?
Quantitative research is a more structured type of research compared to qualitative research because it is statistical in nature. In modern business, big data and quantitative data analysis are creating a major buzz in the marketing sphere. Numerous companies have built their businesses and owe their success to numbers, algorithms and quantitative data analysis. In fact, you’ll rarely find a business that doesn’t use this type of data analysis. Business giants like Netflix achieved 93% customer retention thanks to quantitative data analysis.
Quantitative research helps businesses gain an accurate snapshot of their target audience by asking a sizable sample of respondents to answer a list of closed questions. Businesses can choose to have paper-based or online questionnaires and surveys sent to the selected respondents. Keep in mind that an appropriate sample size is needed to obtain reliable quantitative data.
Many entrepreneurs might find this to be a daunting task, but there are courses that can help you interpret and use quantitative research. An online DBA course such as the one offered at Aston University will help business owners and executives conduct both qualitative and quantitative research. You’ll get to use tools such as regression analysis, hypothesis testing and simulations to see the quantitative data patterns. With this information, businesses can pinpoint areas where they need to improve and function more optimally.
Mathematical modeling gives businesses confidence when making decisions because they can see the possible outcome numerically. It’s the only way to stand out from the competition in today’s marketplace.
Benefits of quantitative research for businesses
- It not only uses tools that help busy business owners gather large volumes of data quickly and efficiently but also helps them analyze the results of the data quickly.
- Comprehensive results from quantitative data analysis give businesses confidence in decision-making, allowing them to better plan for the future.
- Quantitative surveys and some questionnaires are anonymous, allowing customers to maintain their privacy and encouraging transparency and honesty.
While quantitative research may give a straight yes or no answer, qualitative research shows you there is more to the story. It helps you understand that there are gray areas behind the black-and-white answers in quantitative research as people are complex in their decision-making processes.
The key to a successful business is making well-informed decisions. Implementing a range of tools and techniques to ensure you get the full picture of the market and data analysis is a good place to start.