How qualitative market research can help your small business

How qualitative market research can help your small business

Market research is an essential part of any successful business. It provides you with a good view of the market and the current business landscape. It helps you get to know your customers and enables you to find ways to grow your business. But is qualitative market research better than quantitative?

qualitative market research

You can go about it in two ways: quantitative and qualitative research. Quantitative research deals more with numbers and complex data. Meanwhile, qualitative research provides you with the whys and hows of customer behaviour.

Qualitative methods can help you get an in-depth view of your customers’ wants and needs. Knowing them in this way can help you craft more customized products and campaigns.

Focus groups

Using focus groups is one of the most common ways to conduct market research. A researcher gathers 6-10 persons to discuss certain products and their marketing strategies.

Holding focus group discussions is a great way to see real customer interactions. Due to the group setting, you can see how they build upon each others’ ideas and perspectives. You see in which aspects they may agree or disagree.

You may conduct these discussions many times across different locations or demographics. Various lifestyle and environmental factors can affect their perspectives. You’ll also be more able to tailor your services according to these differences.

How does the public see your product or brand?  Which parts work and which don’t? This method can be an effective way to assess your products and strategies.  

In-depth interviews

Researchers and businesses use interviews to get deeper insights from their customer base. To get a broader view, researchers often conduct one-on-one interviews with many people.

Interviews are a more personal way to get to know someone and their lifestyle. Since you are speaking one-on-one, the interaction can be more conversational and personal. The interviewee would feel more confident to share personal opinions.

The best-case scenario for an interview would be to conduct it in the interviewee’s own home.  The discussion then approaches a more ethnographic method. Aside from knowing their answers to your questions, you also get to see how they move within their space.

Interviews can teach you the innermost needs and values of your customers. What do they focus on in life? How can your business help improve their lives?


Shop-alongs are a great way to learn how products and marketing work in practice. The researcher accompanies the respondent as they go shopping and observes their decision-making.

Alongside observation, you can also conduct a casual interview on their shopping choices. You can observe how a product performs in real life.

Shop-alongs can help a lot in figuring out how to make your product stand out. What factors push customers to choose one product over another? Is it the packaging? Product placement? In-store promotions? The answers to these can assist you in fine-tuning your marketing strategies.

What’s next?

Once you’ve gathered your data, it’s time for you to organize them before coding and analysis. These steps help you get the best results that can guide your business strategy. 

This way, you can scale your business and serve your customers better. Thematic has a guide on qualitative data analysis to help you through the process.