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Making the Leap from Market Research to Insight Part Three: Quantitative Data


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Article 3 of 3 about transforming research into insight. Published May 2012 in the Market Research Association’s Alert! magazine.

Part 1: The Four Places Insights Hide

Part 2: Qualitative Data

Published in: Business, Technology
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Making the Leap from Market Research to Insight Part Three: Quantitative Data

  1. 1. Alert!Marketing Research Association Technology & Software Directory MAY 2012 · Vol. 52 · No. 5 Tomorrow’s Technology in Today’s Research Navigating Trends and Technology MRA 2011 Annual Report
  2. 2. Keeping InformedMaking the Leap from Market Research to InsightPart Three: Quantitative DataBy Thom PulliamThis is the final of a three part series that has provided practical counsel onthe subject of insights and where they hide. In January’s issue, we looked atThe Four Places Insights Hide, using the “Don’t Mess With Texas” campaignas an example of how a few words can communicate so much and to so many– effectively. The second article, published in March, focused on drawinginsights from qualitative data.As mentioned in earlier editorials, decision makers. Thus, one of the major with clear research objectives. Whenas market researchers and brand roles of the researcher and strategist is to using quantitative research to teststrategists, we hunt for insights – unique examine, organize, and statistically test hypotheses, concepts, copy, products,combinations of information that give the data so that meaningful conclusions etc., it is very clear what your researchmeaning to the marketplace. We are and insights can be drawn. All too objective is: figure out how an audiencefamiliar with a myriad of methodologies often, clients conduct quantitative responds to the work. Do they like it?used in the collection of data, but research only to have the work result Does it resonate? Is the brand linkageoftentimes struggle with making the in a “data dump” with no discernible there? Clients adverse to risk frequentlyinformation we find useful. How do we conclusions, implications, or direction for rely on this type of testing to validatetransform information into insight? This implementation of the results. Likewise, their direction before bringing somethingthird and final piece for Alert! magazine clients frequently spend significant sums to market. But, what are the best wayswill focus on answering this question as it of money not on actionable and insightful to use quantitative research early on, asrelates to quantitative data. research, but on reports and binders an input of the discovery process; when Quantitative research measures queries of quantitative data that sit – largely you are searching for a leading insight toon a numerical scale and encompasses unused – on shelves or in filing cabinets. inspire strategy? The key first insightfulthree types of research techniques: This happens, not because quantitative and actionable step to quantitativeobservation, physiological measurement research is inherently unable to surface research is for both researcher and client(i.e. eye tracking and brain wave insights, but because the approach is to define and agree upon what theystudying), and survey research. Raw often not optimized to do so. want to learn. By always setting researchdata derived from a quantitative study is If you put garbage in, you get garbage objectives first, before determining whatuseless by itself; only data that have been out. When embarking on any research questions to ask or how to ask them, youthoroughly analyzed is of any value to project it is of vital importance to start set yourself up for success.MRA’s Alert! Magazine – May 2012 39
  3. 3. What are your research objectives? Ifyou want to learn what an audience’stop motivators for visiting the BiltmoreEstate in autumn are, then you cancount on asking questions about price,travel distance, weather, attractions, andholiday vacation time. If you are lookingto understand, by market, how consumerscompare ULTA to Sephora, then yourline of inquiries would involve selection,proximity, price, customer experience,store environment, and networks ofcommunication. Once your research objectives areestablished, your questions developed, Paper Surveysand your study fielded, it is time to I Full print and mail capabilitiesanalyze the information and uncoverinsights. In quantitative research, I Automated inbound mailroominsights live in the juxtaposition of data I Postage discountswith surrounding observed associations.These associations, represented as I Scanning/data entry Paper Surveyscorrelations, indexes, and scales provide I Litigation surveys I Full print and mail capabilitiescontext and meaning to the data and I Automated inbound mailroomallow us to make statements about I Verbatim open end capture I Postage discountsthe likelihood of an event given the I Print and mail within Canada I Scanning/data entryoccurrence of another event. Quantitativeresearch allows us to zoom out and I Litigation surveyssee patterns that are not obvious from Open End Comment Coding Verbatim open end capture Iour usual vantage point. For example, I Computer assisted traditional I Print and mail within Canada codingdata mining helped retailer Victoria’s I Text End Comment Coding Open analysisSecret find geographic differences inpreferences for bra sizes and colors that I Computer assisted traditional coding I Over 30 languageswere previously unnoticed. As a result, I Text analysisthe company improved its purchasing I I Healthcare, financial and technical specialists Over 30 languagesand inventory management efficiency. Healthcare, financial and technical specialists Transcription IIn a different example of zooming outwith quantitative analysis, Berger and Transcription I IVR and recorded CATI open endsLe Mens looked at the prevalence of first IIVR and recorded CATI open endsnames going back to 1880 (as recorded I Focus groups I Focus groupsby the US Census). They found that the I 1-on-1 interviews I 1-on-1 interviewsfaster a name becomes popular, based onthe number per one million children, thefaster it declines to “pre fad” levels. Only Contact Dave Kochby “zooming out” in a temporal senseand looking at data over a long period Contact Dave Koch a large number of names) could the (952) 939-0538 ext.114 dkoch@adaptdata.comresearchers discover this pattern. Another technique for making (952) 939-0538 ext.114analysis, the raw data from quantitative quantitative survey helps provide a morequantitative research more actionable exhaustive set of variables to test. This research yields meaningful to set it up with discovery qualitative qualitative discovery provides the people Furthermore, the power of quantitativeresearch. In other words, use methods writing the quantitative research with research lies in the safety of statisticalsuch as qualitative focus groups to more knowledge about the consumer significance – knowing at a specificexpand your thinking on a research mindset and marketplace, and helps confidence level that your insight isobjective and better articulate your inform the creation of quantitative representative of the larger population,quantitative methodology. For example, methodology. and not an anomaly reflected by a fewwhen the research objective is to Qualitative research provides rich outliers (as is the risk with qualitativeunderstand what consumer wants and understanding of consumers and the research).needs are driving the shift from agent- marketplace, while quantitative also hasbased auto insurance providers to its place and is more than a tool used to Thom Pulliam is an independentdirect-to-consumer providers, talking post-test ideas. When set up with the strategic communications professionalwith consumers before setting up the right research objectives and thoughtful newly residing in Los Angeles, CA.40 MRA’s Alert! Magazine – May 2012