Once you have gathered all of the information for understanding your ideal customer, the next step is to analyze the information. Analysis simply means examination or investigation, so this step is where you will read the story that the market research data is telling.
The two methods for reading and understanding this information are qualitative or quantitative analysis. Understanding the distinctions between these two methods is important to the process of analysis and to effectively use your time.
Definitions: Quantitative Vs. Qualitative Analysis
Quantitative analysis uses math and equations (such as averages and sums) to identify patterns in your data.
Qualitative analysis uses information that is unstructured such as behavior and feelings.
Quantitative Market Research Data
Can you add it up, multiply it or find the average? Then the data is most likely to be quantitative. This approach provides a way to both systematically and objectively analyze your customer data. Looking back at the information you collected, you may have asked questions like these:
- How did you hear about my product or service?
- What feature helped you decide to buy this product or service?
- Where do you live?
- Has this person bought multiple products from you?
Thinking about those questions, here are some examples of the data you may analyze using a quantitative approach:
- If you have a list of all past and current customers including their age / estimated age, then you can find the average age or an age range.
- From a customer satisfaction survey, you may have included a scale system (1 – 5, where 5 is the highest rating) for identifying how happy the person was with the quality of your product or service. You can segment your audience based on those ratings and create a cluster chart to visualize that information.
- Among your demographic information may be zip codes, cities, or regions. This location-specific information can be visualized as a chart like the one below
Qualitative Market Research Data
Qualitative research looks for a deeper understanding of how and why consumers buy. It is closely associated with discovery of information to better understand how people behave, think and feel. From customer surveys or focus groups, you may have asked questions like these:
- Why did you give that score for customer satisfaction?
- What made you choose to work with us over [competitor name]?
- How would you describe your first experience with our product or service?
Handling this kind of analysis is all in the details and organization. When handling a qualitative analysis, take note of both WHAT people say as well as HOW they say it. Word choice is an important factor that can sometimes be stepped over. If there are large groups of views that are similar, then categorize those opinions into consolidated themes. I sometimes do this by creating codes or numbers to those similar points of view. This is great because then you can cross-reference the data with what you learned from the quantitative analysis.
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Why Do You Need Both Kinds of Market Research Data?
A thorough analysis includes both qualitative and quantitative information. Numbers do not lie, but humans do not have perfectly formulated behaviors. Using both methods for analyze allows you to understand your ideal customer in a holistic way.
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