Why you may have to do qualitative market research

Doing your own research for the first time can be stressful. However, this article will help you. You will learn:

Qualitative market research is in the most basic sense an attempt to understand how customers behave through observation. Obviously there is a whole lot more to it than that as PHDs are written on it and businesses spend millions of pounds on it every year. However, if you are doing a business dissertation, simply knowing that will not help you to do your research. If you read this article, you will get a clearer view of how you can use market research in your dissertation.

 

Let’s imagine that you are writing a business dissertation on launching a pot of eye cream that costs £51. Your hypothesis might be that pricing an eye cream at over £50 would not be a viable business venture. Before you faint or say that surely no-one would pay that for a pot of eye cream, we need to consider just how you could use qualitative market research in this particular case.

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Qualitative market research tends to be carried out on smaller numbers of people than quantitative research does. The reason for this is that quantitative research deals in numbers, for instance you might try to get hold of overall figures from different cosmetic houses as to how many pots of eye cream are sold that cost over £50. However, the qualitative research would tell you who is your target audience, what they tend to believe about themselves; their attitudes towards their professions and salary; what their lifestyles are like and also if there are any constraints as to why your product would not sell. In other words, if quantitative research means data that deals with statistics then qualitative research deals with feelings, attitudes and beliefs.

When launching a product, it is essential to discover who is your target audience. This is where market research really counts because it is tempting to make a guess with a product like an expensive eye cream. For instance, it would seem like common sense to believe that only an older person would need to spend so much money on an eye cream that may or may not make much difference. However, there is a large young professional population that may believe that prevention is better than cure and may wish to start using expensive eye cream in their late twenties or early thirties. Imagine if the cosmetic house believed that their only audience was the over sixties and so designed all their advertisements to hit that age group. They could miss out on valuable sales simply through not conducting market research.

The same situation arises if the cosmetic house automatically assumes that only women will use eye cream and not any of the male population. Therefore, it is essential to initially ensure that a cross section of the public is interviewed in some way. It would be imperative then to create a questionnaire that could distinguish just exactly who would be willing to pay out over £50 for a pot of eye cream.

  • One of the most important aspects of creating a questionnaire is to ensure that your questions are not leading the consumer. If they do, your research will be invalid.
  • Don’t ask “do you think that £50 is too much money to pay out for a pot of eye cream?” the chances are that the respondent may just say ‘yes’ because this seems to be the answer that you require. It is amazing how many members of the public are people pleasers in this type of situation.
  • You should ask “what is the most amount of money you would pay for a pot of eye cream?” because the respondent has to think about it and come up with an actual figure.
  • Take into consideration that asking questions is not a perfect solution because the person being interviewed may want to impress the researcher and so give a higher amount than they would pay.
  • Also consider that the respondent may be embarrassed by agreeing to pay so much because they think it makes them look vain and so they may give a lower figure.
  • Keep in mind that the way around this problem would be to make the questionnaire anonymous but by doing that you would miss out on facial expressions and body language.

Focus groups should allow for in between four and six people at one session. You need to create leading questions in advance so that if the conversation goes away from your research you can lead it straight back. A good way to operate a focus group to determine who would pay out over £50 for a pot of eye cream is to carefully choose your respondents and to place a range of eye creams on the table in front of them. Allow them to try the products and while they are doing this you could have a colleague or friend assisting you by making a video recording of the event. A video recording is one of the best ways to get a true picture of what happens. The reason for this is that while it is taking place you may actually miss some of the conversation or some of the facial expressions. Being able to play it back will allow you to see and hear it all again and duly reflect upon it.

Hopefully, this article will have given you a clearer picture of how to use qualitative market research for your business dissertation. However, if you are stressed or not confident enough you do not need to worry as we cover all aspects of dissertation work and offer a full range of writing services also. These include writing dissertations, essay, letter writing, proof reading and editing. Don’t let the work get to you, contact us and find out how we can help you.

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