When issues arise in your business you need solid information to base your decisions.

Understanding if you need to know the WHAT or the WHY is a great place to start.

Q: I often hear people getting confused about the difference between quantitative and qualitative research. Can you tell me more about it?

A: Quantitative is what we normally see as surveys, and there all about collecting hard data.  Now qualitative is what we mostly know as focus groups. And that’s about gathering thoughts and feelings from people. Now the problem I see often, is that people expect to get data from qualitative. But that’s a big problem because it’s not what it’s there for.

Q: So when would you use each method?

A: When you need to know how often customers do something, or how much they like a feature for instance. Then those stats are the What of an issue. And that’s when you’d use a survey as a quantitative example. If however you want to know Why something is happening, and want to know that in people’s own words and stories. Then that’s when you’d have something like a discussion group.

Q: So both have a place, which would you do first?

A: It really depends on your needs at the time. For instance, you might start with a chat session first. Pull out some key issues to quantify afterwards. Or, get a general feel for the market first, and drill down on the key points, at a more personal and emotive level.

Q: Can the information you get from a Quant survey help in building the customer story?

A: Absolutely, and just remember it’s more art than science. I’m an info magpie, and I love blending stats and stories to get the total picture of customer expectations and experience. Connecting the dots between different kinds of research. Whether it’s desk research, surveys, chat-groups and so on.

Q: Do you personally have a preference?

A: Look, I’m passionate about the real reasons Why behind consumer behaviour. Which also includes a lot of quant work that I do. Because I love finding the patterns and trends in data. And then when you combine that with the real stories, that can make creative marketing content just flow more easily. It’s about addressing needs in the language of the target.

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