Qualitative marketing research

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Qualitative marketing research is a marketing research method, which looking into the in-depth motivations behind consumer buying behavior or opinions. This type of research gives emphasis on the value of looking on variables in their natural setting where they are commonly found. Comprehensive data is collected by open-ended questions providing direct quotations.[1]

Data collection[edit]

Qualitative marketing researchers collect data ranging from focus group, case study, participation observation, innovation game and individual depth interview.

focus group[edit]

The focus group is marketing research technique for qualitative data that involves a small group of people (610) that share a common set characteristics (demographics, attitudes, etc.) and participate in a discussion of predetermined topics led by a moderator. There are opportunities to conduct focus groups with the use of focus group software[2] There are many types of focus group as well, the common point of them is there always has discussion among the group(s). The problem of the focus group is the issue of observer dependency: the results obtained are influenced by the researcher or his own reading of the group's discussion, raising questions of validity.[3]

Qualitative case study[edit]

Qualitative case study methodology provides tools for researchers to study complex phenomena within their contexts.Because it only studies one case, so it is very up-close, in-depth. It contains high level of internal validity but the problem is that the external validity is low.

Participation observation[edit]

Participation observation is watching participants’behavior in real world settings without trying to manipulate their actions.[4] The advantage of it is that this method is high in external validity but the problem is that it is low in internal validity(the extent to which you are able to say that no other variables except the one you're studying caused the result.

innovation game[edit]

Innovation game refers to a form of primary market research developed by Luke Hohmann where customers play a set of directed games as a means of generating feedback about a product or service.[5] There are many types of innovation games like 20/20 vision, me and my shadow, buy a feature. The operation of them is facilitator explains the game(s) to be played and control the paces, monitor the participants’ levels and manage the time.

Individual depth interviews[edit]

By doing the individual depth interviews, you can get unique points from each respondent, and their answers will not be influenced by other people as in a focus group.

Use of qualitative marketing research[edit]

Qualitative market research is often part of survey methodology, including telephone surveys and consumer satisfaction surveys[1] We apply the qualitative market research when:

  • New product idea generation and development
  • Investigating current or potential product/service/brand positioning and marketing strategy
  • Strengths and weaknesses of products/brands
  • Understanding dynamics of purchase decision dynamics
  • Studying reactions to advertising and public relations campaigns, other marketing communications, graphic identity/branding, package design, etc.
  • Exploring market segments, such as demographic and customer groups
  • Assessing the usability of websites or other interactive products or services
  • Understanding perceptions of a company, brand, category and product[6]

Typical general procedure[edit]

  1. setting the question
  2. deciding the objectives
  3. planning research design[7]
  4. select data collection techniques
  5. sample design
  6. data collection
  7. analysis
  8. do the report[8]


  • The questions could be much more detailed and in depth.
  • Since the scale of this kind of research is small it can reduce the cost.
  • We are able to discover the “why” behind certain behaviors[9]
  • Quick turnaround, the direction of the research can be changed easily.


  • Issues on confidentiality and anonymity can pose problems during presentation of findings[1]
  • If researcher do not have enough skills such as communication skill, the quality of research is likely to be low.
  • The sample size is relatively small, the result may not be very accurate.
  • Qualitative research produces large amounts which requires a tremendous amount of work and labor on the part of the researcher.[10]

Qualitative marketing research VS Quantitative marketing research[edit]


Qualitative research usually aimed to have an inside look about opinions or motivations while quantitative research use data to simplify the result.


Qualitative research usually has smaller size of sample then quantitative research due to its complexity of its data.

Data collection[edit]

Qualitative research usually use unstructured or semi-structured techniques to collect data e.g. individual depth interviews or group discussions, while quantitative research only use structured techniques such as online questionnaires, on-street or telephone interviews.


Outcome of qualitative marketing research are usually conclusive and cannot be used to make generalizations about the population of interest. Develop an initial understanding and sound base for further decision making.The findings of quantitative marketing research are conclusive and usually descriptive in nature.[11]

Data analysis[edit]


Coding is an interpretive technique that both organizes the data and provides a means to introduce the interpretations of it into certain quantitative methods.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Advantages and Disadvantages of Qualitative Research". OccupyTheory. Retrieved 2015-11-05. 
  2. ^ "Focus Group | Marketing Research Association". www.marketingresearch.org. Retrieved 2015-11-05. 
  3. ^ "Focus group". 
  4. ^ . ISBN 978-0-205-95998-3.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ "Innovation game". 
  6. ^ "When to Use Qualitative Research - Qualitative Research Consultants Association". www.qrca.org. Retrieved 2015-11-05. 
  7. ^ "7 Stages or Steps Involved in Marketing Research Process". YourArticleLibrary.com: The Next Generation Library. Retrieved 2015-11-05. 
  8. ^ "Marketing Research Process: 9 Stages to Marketing Research Success - Qualtrics". Qualtrics. Retrieved 2015-11-05. 
  9. ^ "The Advantages of Qualitative Research | Marketing Research Company | SmartPoint Research". smartpointresearch.com. Retrieved 2015-11-05. 
  10. ^ "What Are the Disadvantages of Qualitative Measurements When Doing Marketing Research?". Small Business - Chron.com. Retrieved 2015-11-05. 
  11. ^ "Qualitative vs Quantitative Research » Snap Surveys". » Snap Surveys. Retrieved 2015-11-05. 
  12. ^ "Qualitative research".