Taking Your Qualitative Research Online

Picture courtesy of the Seattle Municipal Archives, City Light Billboard, 1968

Picture courtesy of the Seattle Municipal Archives, City Light Billboard, 1968

Quality and luck alone rarely make a successful product, at least if without market fit. Deciding on who to target, and how, helps ensure products attract the right group of customers. Business market research is essential for prospects  and figuring out what they want. There are a few ways to analyze the marketability of your products, business, or content.

  • Overall purchases of a product, from where, and by whom
  • Customer feedback via in-depth conversations or surveys with short questions
  • In-field analysis of how customers react to products within a store, online or off

Age, beliefs, and lifestyle are just some of the factors that go into characterizing a market. While easy to imagine your customer base, market research unto itself is a specialty.  The discipline includes a huge array of methods, and new ones continuously develop. Selecting the most productive option, or options, requires experience and expertise. A marketing research company is the typically the go-to for businesses that lack the time or human resources to conduct their own research. Even in the instance that they do,  professional opinion is still a valuable asset. 

The Advent of Market Research Online

Marketing has changed a great deal since the century’s turn. Customers are increasingly reliant on the internet, and their input is more democratized than ever before. Sharing opinions about products or content is nothing new. However,  opinions about products take on new meaning within the larger framework of Web 2.0. Traditional critics still receive attention, yes, but word-of-mouth is far more of a game changer.

Where markets go, marketers follow. The internet is no exception, and market research services are very present, very active, and very numerous. Easy to see why: internet connects marketers with a huge percentage of their targets. Quantitative research, or the numerical evaluation of a product’s performance, is the most popular means of analyzing a market. Important for analyzing large scale reception, marketers use it for everything from tallying and segmenting email responses to averaging survey answers. 

While quantitative research is certainly useful, its proliferation throughout the internet is not just one of convenience or potential. Technological limitations factor as well. Qualitative research, or the interpersonal examination of a potential target, requires full emotive detail. Traditionally, such interviews happen within a facility, with researchers and participants interacting in real life. Conducting such research online is possible, but it requires the same observational quality as the human eye.  Until recently, video streams could not accommodate such detail, at least not without major slowdown. Now that such technology is available, qualitative research is once again a feasible option.        

New Technology Means New Outreach Methods

Taking research online, qualitative and quantitative, offers one other major benefit: pertinence. The constant hubbub of social media, as well the general speed of communication, is significantly changing customer perspectives and expectations. In turn, product and content creation is becoming faster to meet these demands. 

Traditional quantitative research, however, typically requires months of scheduling and follow through. Data from such a prolonged method is often redundant by the time it reaches design, if not outright inaccurate. Not good, as such input helps inform designers and marketers using quantitative methods.

Market research, online or off, is vital to understand your customers and how they behave. Cohesive, actionable data, however, now fully requires online capabilities. Customers are making their decisions at that pace, and marketers need to match it. Learn how we streamline your research by checking out our demo today.

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