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Qualitative versus Quantitative Research in Communications


BBDO Bangkok’s head of brand and digital planning Prasit ‘Pop’ Kunanuphanchai explores what allows marketers to connect with consumers at a deeper level

Qualitative versus Quantitative Research in Communications
In today’s world, data is undeniably a precise thing utilised extensively among most industries and departments in every organisation.

However, in the marketing and communications world, the balance between science and art is the key to success, since we are dealing with humans who possess complex patterns in their decision-making process.

Essentially, we are talking about what comes underneath ‘Human Insight’, that which allows us to connect with consumers at a deeper level and drive them to act in a way that brands want them to. This is what data struggles to tell us.

The classic example is “You’re not you when you’re hungry” from Snickers. We believe this never came from quantitative data but qualitative discovery. It’s very powerful and has become the sustained essence of the brand.

Marketing and communications solutions, whether for illuminating brand direction, conceiving product proposition or creating sales promotion ideas, should all derive from a precise mixture. We should not rely only on quantitative data which can give us extensive perspective from statistics on consumer attitude and behaviour, but we also need to consider qualitative discoveries that provide an in-depth perspective of human attitude and behaviour.

Thus, here are the five things to help us gain utilisable qualitative discoveries that will make your work more impactful and meaningful:

1. ‘Empathy and Sympathy’ are fundamental to truly understand humans. This will only work when we open our ‘human mode’ to see, hear, touch, taste, and feel the way humans do, not as a marketer or advertiser. 

2. Observation. Humans do not always say what they want directly. Do not only take what people say but observe overall expression and reaction to analyse the motivation behind the action or underlying message they try to tell us. 

3. Seize qualitative discoveries from instant sources. Words of wisdom, quotes and songs are shortcuts to discover many great universal human insights. These are fruitful ingredients gained from truthful attitudes and self-reflection. 

4. Remember that qualitative discovery is not about quantity but depth and hidden / unspoken insights. We also need to estimate the potential from the insight we discover. Or we can validate the qualitative discoveries by quantitative research to confirm they are true to mass consumers.

5. We could choose to use the ‘5-WHY’ process which is a timeless analysis tool to peel back superficial levels of behaviour to reach meaningful insights. The fifth WHY is not always the best answer though. We may complete all of the five WHYs, but the one we select could be between the 1st – 4th depending on the potential we see in each and compatibility with our task.

At BBDO, we understand how important it is to derive the best insights from allying our quantitative conclusions with genuine human insight in order to build the most effective communication solutions. 

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BBDO Bangkok, Fri, 13 Aug 2021 13:51:00 GMT