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Marketing Research

The right way to approach qualitative research in a data-driven company.

Have you ever worked in a data-driven company or environment? The company I work for is very focused on data, and I will not deny it, data is great! I love that most of our decisions are well informed, and we have very clear KPIs to follow. But when we are talking about qualitative research studies in my experience it has been very challenging to get everyone on the right mindset.

If the senior management in your company or your internal customers are used to seeing information always backed up by numbers, and you are working on a qualitative research study, be prepared for a real challenge.

If the senior management in your company or your internal customers are used to seeing information always backed up by numbers, and you are working on a qualitative research study, be prepared for a real challenge.

The first and most important thing I would advise you to do is to set the right expectations among the stakeholders of your company. Qualitative studies by nature, are not meant to be backed up by data and numbers, they are meant to be directional, but not definitive. When you are conducting a qualitative study, you are talking about smaller populations, not representative of a company or brand’s total customers, but that doesn’t mean they are any less valuable. These studies are meant to be more exploratory. They can help your company shed light on issues you don’t know a lot about, but you have an idea they could be causing trouble, and from this, you can have a roadmap of where to head next.

Another piece of advice for a data-driven company is that a qualitative study can work as the starting point of a bigger research project. If your company wants to have very clear numbers and data at the end, the qualitative part can be the foundational beginning of the project. Starting with qualitative can help the company understand issues they didn’t know the customers had and dig deeper in a survey after. It can also help the company get a feel for the customer language and how they interpret different aspects of the brand, so if you conduct a quantitative part after, you can use the information you gathered.

To get a successful start on a qualitative research project on a data-driven company, my advice would be to start by setting the right expectations with all the leaders in the company, of the value of a qualitative study, and the possible outcome of it. And then, if the focus is still on getting numbers as a result, the best way to approach it would be to use the qualitative part as a foundation for a larger research project that contains a quantitative part to it.

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andreaizas

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