With the number of tools out there to create websites, sell products and create a digital brand that spans the globe, the digital marketplace is more competitive than ever. Honing your brand and defending against the competition are crucial parts of succeeding in the digital era. Qualitative market research offers in-depth access to driving forces within your market and makes it easier to position your digital brand for long-term success.
What is Qualitative Market Research?
Qualitative market research uses in-depth interaction and discussion to uncover the reasons why a market behaves in a specific way. Though quantitative research is great for predicting trends, it does little to explain why these trends occur. Through qualitative research, your brand can practice proactive defense, align your brand with your target audience and take over your market. Qualitative market research often requires investment of both time and money. However, when conducted properly, the benefits are well worth the cost.
Traditional Qualitative Market Research
Common methods of conducting qualitative market research include focus groups, vox pop surveys, observational studies, usability testing and moderated question and answer sessions. Though these methods are still ideal ways to collect information, they require securing a location and assembling an audience that is willing to participate. As technologies change, the way that brands conduct qualitative market research is changing as well.
Utilizing New Technologies to Increase Qualitative Research Potential
Though the core of market research has not changed, the platforms and formats available to brands and businesses are increasing dramatically. With the increase in adoption of smartphones and high-speed Internet connections, many brands are taking their research efforts online. This allows a brand of any size to conduct qualitative market research at a fraction of the cost and time investment of traditional methods. Common online platforms for conducting research include social media, video chat, forums, mobile apps and more.
Practical Tips for Utilizing Qualitative Market Research for Brand Defense
1. Using Market Research to Create Your Brand Voice
From your marketing copy to your core values, creating a connection with your customers is often a matter of how you communicate with them. Qualitative market research offers ways to observe how your audience defines value, quality and other important terms to help target your branding and marketing efforts for improved conversions and profits. By aligning your voice with your audience, you can separate yourself from the competition and improve brand defense.
2. Define and Bolster Your Brand’s Weaknesses
Quantitative research offers the tools to discover weaknesses within your brand. From visual branding elements to product packaging or service offerings, discovering and eliminating weaknesses will improve brand performance while eliminating opportunities for the competition to take over your market. Focus groups, online discussion groups and observational studies are great ways to see how your market interacts with your brand’s offerings and make changes accordingly.
3. Build a Unique Image for Your Brand
The Internet has made it possible for digital brands and businesses to reach every part of the globe in seconds. This means that your market has plenty of options from which to obtain products or services. Qualitative research provides information on ways that you can utilize the preferences of your audience to separate your brand from your competitors. This helps to build authority, improve loyalty and boost the chances of repeat business from your customers and clients.
4. Adapting Strategies to Market Changes with Qualitative Research
Using qualitative research in a cyclical manner makes it simple to track changes in your market and methods to improve results. By conducting research on both your methods and those of your competition, you can refine your strategies while adapting to the competition to help improve and defend your brand. This allows your brand to stay ahead of the competition and market trends, leaving them on the offensive when conditions shift while you corner the market.
Qualitative market research might seem daunting to many digital brands. However, with improvements in technology, qualitative market research offers a level of access to your market and audience that is hard to beat. The key to effective market research is proper planning and implementation. These tips and strategies offer simple ways to help defend your digital brand and adopt proactive practices to ensure success and growth of your brand. By staying head of other brands within your market, you can shape trends and remain a leader within your field.
Image Credit: Corey Leopold via flickr