Qualitative marketing explained

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The purpose of Qualitative Marketing is to aid organizational decision making. Any size and type of business can benefit from it. Conducted well, it will provide an insight into customer emotions, values, and opinions. It will also highlight the perceptions of a product or service and customer buying behavior.

Once you know the reason why people react in a certain way, or why they make certain decisions, you can use that information to help shape product or service development, and directly influence future sales and marketing plans.

Healthcare Qualitative Marketing

Qualitative research in healthcare is exceedingly helpful as it can play a major role in various stages of a medical device’s marketing lifecycle. It is also a tool that can gain important feedback on new pieces of medical equipment and can be used to improve a customer journey through healthcare pathways, ECS specializes in his field of research.

The data that is collected provides business intelligence that can be directly used in research and development. For example: knowing what a target audience thinks and feels about a new EpiPen (an essential device for millions of allergy sufferers) provides key information about what they think and feel and how they respond. Is it too small, too cumbersome, hard to use? This data can be used to assist in shaping and adapting the product based on that feedback to make it more acceptable in the marketplace. It is taking notice of information like this that will determine the success or failure of a product.

Qualitative research is also used to explore the way target audiences interact with healthcare service, whether it is a website or a patient process. By collecting feedback on preferences, responses, and behaviors, corrective measures can be made to enhance a user journey on a healthcare website or improve a patient healthcare process.

How to conduct Qualitative Market research

There are a number of approaches that can be used to gather valuable insight. Qualitative Market research can be performed by using just one method, but the more used, the richer the data will be. Here are five of the most popular techniques used.

1. One to one interviews

Interviews are conducted over the phone, online, or face to face. A series of questions are asked to help understand what interests or motivates the individual to purchase a particular product or service. They are asked what they think about it, how they feel, and if they would purchase it. This approach is very informal and by asking open-ended questions better data is gathered.

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2. Observation

Direct observation involves a researcher taking notes either behind a screen or in another room, observing via video camera and recording the event. For example, a healthcare website is failing to achieve the desired results, so the aim of the exercise is to monitor how people use the website. A user is sat in front of a computer screen and tasked to look at the website. They are given a number of exercises and asked to speak their thoughts aloud. Is the navigation clear? Can they find what they are looking for? Are they struggling to find the right information? Obtaining opinions and suggestions during this task gathers important information, and enables remedial action to be taken.

3. Focus groups

A group of people (6-8) who share the same set of characteristics are invited to form a panel and take part in a discussion about a particular product or service. A moderator leads the discussion and stimulates active conversation. Notes are taken and the feedback compiled. These focus groups can be conducted online or offline.

4. Triads/ Quads

This is very similar to a focus group, but the group size is smaller (3-4). So this technique is particularly useful for more sensitive topics. The group is led by a moderator and encouraged to openly share their thoughts and opinions.

5. Mystery shopper

The mystery shopper poses as a customer, or potential customer in-store to evaluate the service or buying experience. The information that is gathered enables the business to understand how well it’s performing with customers.

Advantages of Qualitative Marketing

In summary, Qualitative marketing generates information and statistics that can be used for significant product and service improvement.

The benefits of Qualitative research are profound. Not only does it provide a greater understanding of customer needs and expectations, but it also highlights issues that can be addressed, particularly if customers are simply not buying. A business can sample new products to market, experiment with branding, and target with more effective promotional campaigns.

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