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The accelerating pace of disruption to business models means brands must be agile enough to make informed decisions within days—or even hours. They can thrive or fail based on their ability to make quick, intelligent decisions and outperform competitors by providing superior customer experience.

Customer experience is increasingly the differentiator in a world of commoditized features and benefits, embodying every interaction a person has with a company, including the "whats" (interactions) and the "whys" (perceptions, feelings).

In customer-driven brands, integrated qualitative and quantitative research can answer critical business questions so business leaders can...

  • Quickly convert raw data into user-friendly charts, word clouds, heat maps, and other actionable tools
  • Improve decision-making across departments, recognizing that customers are no longer the domain of only Product Design or Marketing but, rather, of IT, Operations, Pricing, Merchandising, Support, Governance, and others that constitute the business
  • Inspire a customer-centric approach to all projects, discussions, and collaborations by making it easy for people to readily contribute to, and access, customer insights

The integrated qualitative/quantitative approach is an innovation that can create a whole that is greater than the sum of the individual qualitative and quantitative parts.

Combining the two methods can help researchers realize the best of both worlds, while mitigating the weaknesses of each.

The Qual/Quant Symbiosis

The influx of data from social media channels, live chats, discussion boards, photos, and video streams generates many data points about individuals. The filtering of this mass data through integrated research methodologies can give rise to longitudinal, holistic views of customers and their impact on the brand: Quantitative research provides objective, statistical analyses, and qualitative research contextualizes human behavior.

Quantitative research methods are about the "what" of human behavior, gauging quantity through a range of sampling strategies. They project results of a quantitative market survey to the entire marketplace and answer questions such as "Is there a strong market for our product?" and "How many of our target customers care about this benefit?" Methods include various forms of surveys (e.g., online, in-person, and telephone), personal quantitative interviews, customer data, etc.

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image of Mai Kang

Mai Kang is vice president of client services at FUEL CYCLE, where she leads teams on the design and analysis of quantitative surveys, qualitative discussion boards, and online focus groups.

LinkedIn: Mai Kang