Marketing Research: Definitive Guide To Qualitative Vs Quantitative Research

When you’re trying to learn more about your customers, there are two types of research to turn to: qualitative and quantitative. However, understanding the difference between the two can be confusing for beginners. 

Both of these types of research target human behavior and help turn casual observations into data-backed conclusions. 

As a marketer, a basic knowledge of how qualitative vs quantitative research differs will help you develop more effective marketing campaigns that target your audience’s behaviors and needs.

Quantitative and Qualitative Marketing Research – YouTube
Understand the importance of qualitative and quantitative research methods in marketing analysis.
Learn the differences between qualitative and quantitative research approaches.
Gain insights into when to use each method based on research objectives.
Explore real-world examples of how qualitative and quantitative research complement each other.
Consider the role of data analysis techniques in drawing meaningful conclusions from research results.
Discover best practices for designing and conducting effective qualitative and quantitative studies.
Recognize the value of mixed methods research for comprehensive insights.
Address challenges and potential biases associated with each research approach.
Learn from practical tips to enhance the validity and reliability of your marketing research.
Leverage the guide to make informed decisions on research methodologies in your marketing projects.

The Difference Between Qualitative And Quantitative Research

Qualitative research is focused on exploring the meaning and significance of human experiences. It doesn’t focus on measuring, it’s more subjective and exploratory in nature.

Quantitative research is focused on measuring and understanding the behavior of individuals and groups. 

It’s less exploratory than qualitative research, but it gives us more reliable results since we can draw conclusions from numbers or other objective measures rather than relying solely on our judgement about what people are saying or feeling.

Quantitative data is very objective (measurable). Qualitative data by contrast, can be subjective (not measurable) depending on how you choose to collect it (e.g., interviews vs Likert scale).

When conducting marketing research, it’s essential to consider both qualitative and quantitative approaches. Understanding the power of open-ended questions can provide deeper insights into consumer behavior and preferences.

What Is Qualitative Research?

Qualitative research is a flexible process that provides a deeper understanding of the problem you’re trying to solve. It focuses on the people, not the numbers; it looks at customers as individuals with individual experiences, emotions, and goals.

Qualitative methods like interviews focus groups and observation are less expensive than quantitative methods because they don’t require large samples or complex data analysis. 

Qualitative research helps you understand what people think about your product or service by talking directly with them about their experiences; this insight can help inform visuals and messaging in your marketing materials.

Qualitative researchers often ask open-ended questions that get participants talking freely; 

They also pay close attention to things like body language (a telltale sign someone is uncomfortable with what they are saying) and tone of voice (for example: if someone speaks too loudly or too softly). 

The goal here is to listen closely for details about what makes customers tick so you can create better products/services for them on an individual basis!

In the world of marketing research, there are various methods and strategies to explore. Learn about different types of marketing research to tailor your approach according to your research goals and objectives.

What Is Quantitative Research?

Quantitative research is a method of research that measures and analyzes data in order to draw conclusions and make decisions. 

It is based on the scientific method of testing hypotheses. Quantitative researchers collect information through surveys, experiments, case studies or participant observation. 

They analyze the data to find patterns and trends. In this way they can learn more about their audience or target market so that they can develop strategies to reach them most effectively.

Qualitative research is a method of research that measures and analyzes data to draw conclusions and make decisions. It is based on the scientific method of testing hypotheses. 

Qualitative researchers collect information through interviews, focus groups, observations, or document analysis (such as surveys). 

They analyze the data to find patterns and trends; however, they also look at things like context, tone, presentation style, etc., which are not easily quantified but are still important aspects when trying to understand how people think about something or how they feel about it (emotions).

Why Do Marketers Use Qualitative Research?

There are many reasons why marketers use qualitative research. The primary reason is that it gives you a deeper understanding of how consumers think, how they feel and what their behaviors are.

If you want to know what motivates consumers or what makes them happy, then you need to understand their emotions. This can be done through qualitative research because this type of research gives insight into the consumer’s thought process and emotions.

If you want to know why people do something or buy something, then don’t ask them directly in an interview or focus group setting because that won’t give you an accurate answer; 

Instead, let the participants tell their story by using inductive techniques such as open-ended questions during focus groups or interviews.*

Qualitative Research is also used to find out more about who your customers are so that if someone leaves your website without buying anything (known as “browsers”).

Then they may fit into a specific niche market segment which allows companies like Amazon who sell books online for example:

Optimizing marketing research is crucial to extract valuable insights efficiently. Discover strategies for getting the answers you need from your research efforts, enhancing both qualitative and quantitative analyses.

How To Conduct Qualitative Market Research?

Qualitative research is best suited for understanding the consumer’s mindset and behavior. It is used to get insights into the consumer’s thinking, feelings, values, and preferences. 

It helps you understand the consumer’s perception of products/services in addition to how they use them or intend to use them. 

In this way, qualitative research gives you an inside glimpse at what makes your target audience tick: what they think about your product/service; how it fits into their lives; whether it fits with their current needs/desires/wants; 

How well it works as compared with other offerings on the market; whether or not there are any pain points associated with using your offering etc., 

So that you can make strategic decisions on how best to position yourself vis-à-vis existing competitors (or new ones) while also considering changes in consumer attitudes over time

When To Use Secondary Qualitative Data?

If you have done primary qualitative research and want to validate the results or compare them with another one, then secondary qualitative data is your go-to option. 

Secondary qualitative data can also be used when you want to understand a problem better or save money on fieldwork. The following are some situations in which secondary qualitative data can prove useful:

  • You already have some primary data and want to validate it by conducting another study based on that same question.
  • You are doing several studies on related topics and need additional information from each one of them in order to create an overall picture of the situation/issue at hand.
  • Your client is interested only in comparisons between different sets of opinions rather than understanding them individually (therefore saving money).


Surveys are a great way to gather data from a group of people. They can help you understand your customers and the market, and you can use them for research on a wide range of topics. Surveys are an effective way to get feedback from your team members and stakeholders, too!

When developing a survey questionnaire, there are three main types of questions: closed-ended questions that have only one answer, and open-ended questions where people write down their answers (this is also known as “write-in”).

Or multiple choice with checkboxes (also known as “select all that apply”). In terms of how long surveys should be: short surveys are better than long ones since they’re more likely to be completed by respondents.

The scientific approach plays a vital role in marketing research validity. Embrace the principles of observation, inference, and testing to ensure the accuracy and reliability of your qualitative and quantitative findings.

Observations (Participant Observation)

Observations are a type of qualitative research that’s used to gather information about people and their behavior. In this type of study, you can record video or audio to capture what people say, or how they act during certain situations.

In an observation study, you will be observing participants as they go about their day-to-day lives whether it be in the office setting or at home with family members. 

You may choose to use direct observations or participant observations; both methods have their pros and cons (more on this later). For example:

Direct Observation 

Using a hidden camera disguised as a pen recorder, participants are asked questions while performing tasks at work such as typing on a keyboard or ordering food from the drive-thru window at lunchtime. 

These recordings are often used in workplace settings where there are clearly defined roles between employees that allow for more accurate representation when creating content based on job specialization titles such as “Operator” rather than “Customer Service Associate.”

Non-Participatory Observation 

A field researcher is sent out into public areas without any knowledge of what he/she might encounter; sometimes these individuals wear disguises so no one notices them at all!

Focus Groups

Focus groups are a type of qualitative research that allows you to gather feedback on products, services and ideas.

The focus group setting is ideal for gathering insights into your target audience’s perceptions and preferences regarding your product or service. 

A typical focus group session will include 6-8 participants (unless you are running an in-depth qualitative study) who will discuss their experiences with the product or service in question. 

Focus groups also provide an opportunity for you to observe participants interacting with each other as well as with your brand representatives. 

This can be valuable insight into what drives their buying decisions, how they perceive the competition, and other factors related to customer loyalty or satisfaction levels. 

Although focus groups are conducted on a one-on-one basis with individuals rather than entire demographics at once like quantitative surveys.

They allow marketers to gain important information about how consumers feel towards specific products or services while simultaneously learning more about them as individuals through observation of their behavior during the session itself

Depth Interviews (In-Depth Interviews, IDIs)

Depth interviews are one-on-one interviews that allow you to dig into the details of a person’s story and explore their feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. This is different from surveys, which are usually conducted with large groups of people at once. 

With depth interviews, you can talk to people one at a time to get more information about your target market than any other method would provide.

Depth interviews can be effective because they allow researchers to get in-depth answers from respondents who may not otherwise take part in traditional research methods like focus groups or surveys. 

They also tend to be quicker than other research types due to their shorter length (usually 30 minutes maximum).

This means that they don’t require as much time or resources as some other approaches do making them ideal for smaller organizations that may not have endless budgets available at all times!

Finally: A quick tip: If you’re interested in learning more about this topic but don’t know where else on our website might have helpful info… here ya go!

Unleash the potential of marketing research as your secret weapon in understanding your audience. Dive into the fundamentals with Marketing Research: Why It’s Your Secret Weapon & How to Use It (Marketing 101), and elevate your understanding of both qualitative and quantitative insights.

Video Ethnography

Video ethnography is a form of ethnographic research that uses video recording to capture the behavior of the subjects being studied. It’s a type of qualitative research, so it involves observing people in their natural environment. 

You might be surprised to learn that not all types of qualitative research involve observing people in their natural environment some types use surveys and questionnaires instead!

Video ethnography is often used as part of an overarching study or project. It can complement other methods by providing additional information about what’s going on in certain areas or situations, but it isn’t always necessary for every part of a study (or even any parts). 

So if you’re just looking at one part of your business or organization and don’t have time or resources to do secondary studies, then go ahead and skip this option!

Why Do Marketers Use Quantitative Research?

For many marketers, quantitative research is the best way to measure the impact of their marketing efforts. Quantitative data can be used to identify how well a campaign is doing, who it’s reaching and how those people are responding.

Quantitative research can also help you determine whether or not certain elements of your campaign are working better than others and thus might be worth investing more time and money into. 

For example, let’s say you’re running an ad on Facebook that includes three different calls-to-action: “Learn More,” “Buy Now” and “Sign Up.” You’ll want to run some tests with each one so that you know which one gets the best response rate (i.e., has more people clicking).

How To Conduct Quantitative Market Research?

Quantitative market research is the collection of data by numbers and statistics. It is a method of data collection that uses numbers and statistics to collect information.

It is also known as statistical research because it uses statistical methods to collect information from respondents in quantitative surveys, focus groups, interviews, and other types of studies.

Qualitative research, on the other hand, does not use numerical measurements but rather open-ended questions to engage with participants on a deeper level than quantitative methods allow for. 

This means that qualitative researchers use “how” and “why” questions instead of asking consumers what they think about a product or service directly because they want to get them thinking creatively about their experience with it instead!

Online Surveys (Web-Based Surveys)

Online surveys are the most common type of market research, and they have many advantages. They can be conducted in a matter of minutes, are easy to analyze and report on, and are cost-effective. 

Online surveys can also be distributed very easily by emailing a link to the survey or posting it on social media platforms such as Facebook.

Online surveys do have some limitations though: they don’t allow customers to speak freely without fear that their answers will be published; it’s not possible for participants to ask questions or interact with each other; 

There’s no way for them to record their thoughts verbally or visually (e.g., via photos); participants must type text responses into boxes which may cause some people difficulty; 

It’s difficult for participants who don’t use computers regularly (e.g., older people) or who live in countries where internet access isn’t widespread (e.g., developing nations).

Telephone Surveys (Phone Surveys)

Telephone surveys are another popular method of qualitative research. This type of survey is usually done over the phone because it’s a much cheaper alternative to face-to-face interviews, which can be more costly and time-consuming. 

It’s also much easier for someone to answer questions over the phone than it is for them to meet up with you at your office or home. 

The downside? You may not reach people who are hard to reach and busy individuals may find it challenging to participate in your study if they don’t like talking on the phone.

Mobile Surveys (SMS Survey, MMS Survey)

Mobile surveys are a great way to reach consumers. They are a quick and easy way to get feedback from your target audience about a new product or service, especially if you’re looking for opinions on a specific aspect of the product or service.

Mobile surveys can also be used as a follow-up survey after you’ve conducted qualitative research with consumers because they allow you to quickly gather feedback in the moment and at the right time when customers are thinking about your brand.

Mobile surveys have been shown to increase response rates by up to 200% compared with traditional paper questionnaires, so they’re an excellent resource when it comes down to generating high-quality data quickly!

Mail-in Surveys (Postal Mail Surveys)

A postal survey is a type of market research that is mailed to a sample of consumers, who are then asked to complete the survey and return it to the researcher.

Mail-in surveys are one of the most popular methods for collecting data from consumers because they’re cost-effective, practical, and easy to administer. 

Since these surveys can reach thousands upon thousands of people, they’re ideal for companies looking for large samples at an affordable price point.

You Should Know The Difference Between Qualitative And Quantitative Research Before You Start A Market Research Project

Qualitative research involves interviewing people within a segment or target audience to gain as much insight as possible into their thought processes, needs and motivations. 

Qualitative data is usually in the form of text (such as responses to open-ended questions), but it can also include images, videos, audio recordings, and other media.

On the other hand, quantitative data is generally gathered through surveys completed by participants of all ages who are selected at random from a population known to have an interest in your product category. 

The answers provided by respondents provide hard facts about consumer behavior. 

Typically these types of studies involve large samples with many variables being tested against one another simultaneously so that conclusions can be drawn about which variables had an effect on purchase decisions versus those that did not have any impact at all


Congratulations! You have now completed the entire course on qualitative and quantitative research. You should feel confident in your ability to differentiate between these two data collection methods, as well as how they’re used in marketing. 

We hope that you have found this guide helpful as you plan for future projects or create your own materials about these topics. Please share it with your colleagues if you think they could benefit from learning about market research too!

Further Reading

Explore more resources on the topic of qualitative and quantitative research in marketing:

Understanding Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research: A comprehensive tutorial on the differences between qualitative and quantitative research methods in data analytics.

Quantitative vs. Qualitative Market Research: Delve into the distinctions and applications of quantitative and qualitative market research, and how they contribute to informed decision-making.

Types of Market Research: Qualitative vs. Quantitative: Discover the various types of market research and the importance of balancing qualitative and quantitative approaches.


What is the main difference between qualitative and quantitative research?

Qualitative research focuses on exploring underlying motivations and perceptions, while quantitative research deals with numerical data and statistical analysis.

Which research method is better suited for understanding consumer emotions?

Qualitative research is better suited for understanding consumer emotions as it allows for in-depth exploration and capturing nuanced feelings.

How can I decide between using qualitative or quantitative research for my project?

Consider your research objectives and the type of information you need. Qualitative research provides insights into underlying reasons, while quantitative research offers measurable data and statistical patterns.

Are there instances where combining both qualitative and quantitative methods is beneficial?

Yes, combining both methods, known as mixed methods research, can provide a comprehensive understanding of a phenomenon by triangulating qualitative insights with quantitative data.

What are some common techniques used in qualitative research?

Common techniques in qualitative research include interviews, focus groups, observations, and content analysis, all of which help uncover deeper insights and perspectives.