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Qualitative Analysis In Marketing: Step-By-Step

Using Qualitative Analysis in Marketing

qualitative analysis in marketingThe qualitative method is a useful tool in marketing. It examines people’s feelings and attitudes towards products and services as well as what motivates them to choose a product. Why somebody chose a product and how they arrived at their decision is not easily quantified but can be extremely beneficial to a business. Some of the reasons for having a qualitative data analysis report done include:

  • When looking at new markets or new products
  • Improving brand positioning
  • To find out why a particular product isn’t performing as well as it used to
  • Test new concepts

First Steps in the Qualitative Analysis Process

Before beginning your qualitative marketing research there are a couple of things that need to be determined. For your research to be effective you must know:

  1. What exactly are you studying? Perceptions of a company or brand, reactions to an advertising campaign, identify strengths and weaknesses in products or something else. The research will be geared towards the particular purpose you intend it for.
  2. Determine what methodology will be used. Quite often the method used will involve designing whatever collection materials you need. As they will be used to collect specific data for a specific purpose it is important to decide on the method that will work best for you well in advance.

Once these two issues have been settled then the actual data collecting can begin.

Qualitative Marketing Research Data Collection Methods

Collecting qualitative data will involve using one or more methods that were determined to most effectively serve the intended purpose. For qualitative analysis in marketing the methods generally are based in ethnography (field or participant observation) or phenomenology (using written or recorded narratives). These methods for data collection may include:

  • Individual interviews – Relatively open-ended but somewhat guided by the interviewer
  • Focus groups or group discussion – Several people ranging from 4 to 8 will discuss various questions. Similar to individual interviews but with the addition of the interaction between group members, with some guidance from a moderator.
  • Observation techniques – Often combined with interviews, this may include observation of customers at a point of sale or during interviews/focus groups for things like tone of voice and facial expressions.
  • Open ended surveys – Those responding are provided with instructions and questions but a structured response is not set.
  • Interviewers and moderators must be careful not to inadvertently influence responses and observations should be unbiased.

Qualitative Analysis in Marketing

After data is collected it still must be analyzed to be useful. Qualitative data analysis in marketing uses several different methods depending on the data that is to be analyzed and how it is going to be used. Methods used include:

  • Coding – An interpretive technique where data is organized and allows the introduction of interpretations into some quantitative methods.
  • Recursive abstraction – Data sets are summarized and resulting summaries are summarized again, resulting in a distilled and compact summary.
  • Computerized analysis – Programs known as Computer Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis Software may be used on some data to improve analysts efficiency.

After the data analysis or qualitative business analysis, a report on the findings and what the mean will usually be written. To summarize qualitative analysis in marketing consists of the following steps:

  • Determine the purpose/goal of your analysis
  • Determine the data collection method
  • Conduct data collection operations
  • Analyze the data collected
  • Write a report of the results

To learn more about statistics in marketing, visit the ASA section on statistics in marketing at http://www.amstat.org/sections/mktg/index.html .

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