Q. What's the difference between qualitative and quantitative research - and why would I use one over the other?
Q: Focus groups have been around since the days of Mad Men - are there any new techniques to make them more useful?
- The screening of respondents (e.g., more representative of target consumers, weeding out “professional respondents”);
- The locations in which they’re conducted (e.g., vast and varied locales as needed to get to the right respondents vs. the most convenient or desirable);
- The types and manner in which questions are asked (indirect, projective, engaging, open ended, etc);
- And the means of moderating the group (e.g., ensure all are heard, no single respondent takes over, honest answers are gleaned, even for embarrassing subject matter, etc).
Q: A good designer just knows which design will work. Do we really need to waste time and money testing?
Q: Isn't the only real test of how well a design will perform to place it on the shelf in stores and see how many people buy it?
Q: So how should research be used to ensure that the best designs get to market?
- Before design work begins (pre-design) to learn what is working and what isn’t, and to inform the design brief
- Early in the design process (screening) to help narrow the number of concepts and provide input for optimization
- Prior to market introduction (validation) to determine which design is the best to pursue
- How much and what type of information already exists
- What are the brand objectives (e.g., revive a dying brand or maintain leadership position, etc.)
- What are the sales objectives (e.g., attract new users or encourage increased purchases among existing users, etc.)
- What are the design objectives (e.g., strengthen overall visibility or enhance flavor selection, etc.)
- What are the logistical parameters (e.g., budget, timeline, etc)