Qualitative market research gives insights in attitudes, motives, wishes but also concerns and doubts of people, helping to understand consumer behavior better and in-depth. In quantitative studies there are often barriers like fears of social less accepted answers, defense mechanisms, bias in reasoning and individual memory content not available consciously. The market-psychological approach overcomes these borders with qualitative techniques . The more companies do respect and treat consumers as equal partners in the buying decision process, the better the understanding for the own target-groups will be. Qualitative techniques are tools which help consumers to express their real – often less aware – motivations and mental settings not only verbally but also in pictures and behavior. Qualitative research goes in-depth, triggers creativity of consumers and thus delivers vital information and insights for marketing. Understanding of the consumer and the questions “how?“ and “why?” are in focus of qualitative research.
In focus groups about 8 to 12 respondents are discussing with an experienced moderator on the basis of a discussion guideline previously agreed with the client. In an open discussion-atmosphere the moderator reacts flexible to relevant aspects and comments regarding the research topic. A specific kind of focus group is the creative-group. In spontaneous and dynamic group-climate new ideas are created and in a second step valued by projective and creative research techniques. Advantages of qualitative methods are in particular spontaneity in exchange of thoughts and immediate contact with the customers enabling the client observing a “live”-environment.
Qualitative one-to-one interviews – e.g. expert & in-depth-interviews – are used to avoid group pressure discussing sensitive topics and in case the target group is particularly sensitive e.g. medical staff. Topics which have to be explained in greater detail for experts and costumers are also more appropriate for one-to-one qualitative interviews than focus groups.
Application fields for qualitative research: Qualitative market research is preferably applied for motivational studies helping to understand underlying preferences and attitudes of consumers regarding products, concepts and services. Qualitative research supports the development of new products and advertising campaigns. It can also be used as a pre-stage to quantitative studies to select particular issues which are relevant for researching a representative sample of the target-group.