Significance of Qual Research in the Digital Era - Market Research & Behaviour analytics

Significance of Qual Research in the Digital Era

ByHimanshu Vashishtha

Significance of Qual Research in the Digital Era

The qualitative research method follows a naturalistic process of inquiry to understand social phenomena in natural settings. The focus is on the ‘why’ and not the ‘what’ and is concerned with the experiences of people in their daily lives. It deals with words, meanings and concepts in detail.

In the digital world today, companies that have adapted to the qual methods of research are thriving more and reaping better rewards. The key is to adhere to and incorporate these qualitative principles –

  • Immersion
  • Observation
  • Exploration
  • Hypothesis formulation

What are the main conditions for Qual research?

While the methods may have been tweaked slightly to accommodate online groups and mobile ethnography, traditional focus groups and detailed interviews are the bigger contributors to authentic insights even today. All of these work on the inclusion of the following main conditions –

  • Settings or context based on real life
  • Multiple questions that are task and system based
  • Time constraints to keep away from overjustification

How to maximise techniques used for Qualitative research?
Companies leaning on qualitative research methods should ideally adhere to the following –

  1. Adopt a “Test & Learn” strategy, wherein one relies on behavioural observations for prototyping and validation, which form the basis for the subsequent lean research and hypothesis formulations.
  2. Ride the digital wave and digitise those steps that are time-consuming by incorporating more efficient technology. This can also help in managing costs better.
  3. Adopt a holistic and rigorous behavioural framework to deliver results that can predict behavioural changes more effectively.

When qualitative research is applied in its true exploratory and observatory capacity, companies get a better understanding of consumers and their behaviour, which will, in turn, help to formulate more efficient business strategies and product development. It can broadly be defined and split into the following steps –

  • Immersion to understand consumer behaviour and their preferences for products and brands
  • Iterations regarding product development, concepts and experiences for consumers
  • Refining and validating product concepts and packaging ideas with both qualitative and quantitative methods working side by side
  • Collecting insights and opinions of product category experts and influences, as well as consumers, to be on the same page as the current trends


Why is Qualitative research important?
In today’s transient world, older research methods are becoming obsolete, paving the way for agile and concrete methodologies to gain deep insights into consumer behaviour. For example, social media likes and hashtags are considered consumer reactions or messages to a brand’s message or product. Consumer preferences are gauged in their natural settings, like social media usage in this case, without external prompts or questions. This could be viewed as a more intuitive approach to collecting insights, which traditional techniques may not be able to grasp.

Working on a holistic approach, coupled with developing digital technologies and changing online audiences, companies get better outcomes, which lead to more efficient business strategies and ideas. In addition to better marketing techniques, they also get better product launches and creative packing ideas.

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Himanshu Vashishtha administrator

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