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The Difference Between Quantitative & Qualitative Research

quantitative data research

Understanding customers is one of the most important steps a business can take. Without an idea of the customer, marketing can fall flat and sales can drop. Luckily, there are several ways you can dive into the minds of your customers, including quantitative and qualitative data research. But what’s the difference between the two, and how can you use them to boost your marketing efforts?

Quantitative Research

You can understand quantitative research by isolating the root word, “quantity”. This type of data is based on numbers, and it is easier to gather than qualitative data. According to Scribbr, “It is used to test or confirm theories and assumptions.” This kind of data research is a great way for companies to test products and learn responses easily with a lot of different data. 

For example, you can conduct a survey of 500 grocery store customers and ask them to rate their experience on a scale of 1-10. This could give the grocery store a good general idea of what their customers are thinking. However, this data is limited by the lack of in-depth knowledge behind each answer. If the grocery store receives most of its answers under 5, they won’t be able to learn how to raise that number unless they conduct qualitative research. Some examples of quantitative research are:

  • Surveys
  • Experiments
  • Observations

Qualitative Research

Qualitative data, on the other hand, comes from the root word “quality”. This type of data is expressed in words rather than numbers. Descriptions, reviews, and other types of explanations would fall under this category and can offer valuable insight into customers’ minds. While quantitative can glean the overall satisfaction with the grocery store, for example, quantitative can explain why customers feel unsatisfied with their experiences. 

In this instance, a survey with open questions that prompt more detailed responses can help the store understand that they need to adjust their customer service or offer better prices. The downside of using qualitative research, however, is that it is much harder to gather data. This can lead to skewed results if the responses are few and far between. Some examples of qualitative research methods include:

  • In-depth interviews
  • Focus groups
  • Online Communities
  • Reviews
  • Ethnography
Qualitative data research group

Strategic Quantitative and Qualitative Data

Utilizing both qualitative and quantitative data together can help boost business. By channeling both of these research methods, companies can create a comprehensive marketing strategy that will fit the expectations of their customers. Additionally, the return on investment for market research makes it worthwhile. Not only can you target customers more succinctly, but you can also make an impact when you do with a more personalized approach.

According to Elevated Insights, “market research averagely represents 7% of the marketing budget” for businesses. With a “marketing budget at 11.2% of their overall revenue”, market research is not as expensive as one might think. Incorporating market research into your budget can help your business get the insight it needs to make the rest of your marketing more intentional and directional. Without it, your marketing could be rendered ineffective.

Need Some Advice On Using Quantitative or Qualitative Data? We Can Help.

At Decision Point Consulting, market research is our specialty. If you or your business needs help to navigate the ins and outs of market research, we would be happy to help! We are a passionate and driven team committed to helping you make the most of your business marketing and research. We offer focus group facilitation, digital market research, consumer panels, data capture & analysis, recruiting, and much more. Please call us at 440-263-5362. You can also use our online contact form to get in touch. Let’s start today.

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