Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods in Marketing

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Marketers should become the ears of a company in order to develop business strategies, hence, marketers need tools in order to understand the market and get new insights from it. As Kotler & Keller have emphasized that marketers have two advantages for the task:

  • disciplined methods for collecting information
  • time spent interacting with customers and observing competitors and other outside groups.

So these authors are already highlighting the importance to get measurable information and perception comprehension. Therefore, this document will show the importance of developing (mix) quantitative and qualitative research methods.

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Rutbertg & Bouikidis explained the importance and differences between qualitative and quantitative methods through an analogy of the difference between coffee and tea drinkers. For coffee drinkers, the amount of water and coffee is essential to have their coffee, and actually the most recent trend, scores to differentiate types of coffee, in other words, it is measurable. On the other hand, the strength of tea will depend of the length of time of the tea drinker leaves the tea bag in the water before drinking; which shows that it is a matter of perception. Both types of research have different benefits. Quantitative research provides objective results, which is directed in a structured manner that allows the marketer control the study variables (measurable).

On the other hand qualitative research allows the marketer study aspects very difficult to measure such as: ethnography, phenomenology, grounded theory, historical research, and case studies (perception). So although there are authors that disagree to mix these methods, there are others who have ephasized that the differences between these two methods are false dichotomy. Then, as Kotler & Keller highlighted “Marketers don’t have to choose between qualitative and quantitative measures. Many use both, recognizing that their pros and cons offset each other.” Which it is completely rational, as with the quantitative methods a marketer could measure variables and understand aspects such as: market shared, top of mind, impact from advertisings, rational arguments why to buy or don’t an argument, what the customer see on the competence that don’t see in the marketer product, etc. While, with qualitative research, a marketer can understand perception aspects, such as the importance that product produces in the customer, their habits that cause the consumption of a product, the drivers that are not logical for a marketer.

However, independently to the research method, before started it is very important make two steps:

  • define the problem, the decision alternatives, and the research objectives
  • develop the research plan.

It is important that the marketer knows in advance the problem or question that he/she wants to resolve; other wise the research won’t be accurate; and after that it is important establish a plan to get those answers, as Cavusgil, Knight, Riesenberg and Yaprak emphasized the research design summarizes the types of information that the firm is seeking and the type of research that will conduct.

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