Maximising the utility of qualitative research

David Iddiols

Recent Years have witnessed a sea change in marketing philosophy, with niche segmentation and micro-marketing swimming purposefully to the water's surface. Consumers increasingly expect to be dealt with individually and, aided and abetted by digital technology, want to be fully informed when choosing products and services.

This greater sense of individualisation demands brand strategies nimble and flexible enough to respond to the needs of consumer sub-groups – which, these days, are more likely to be defined in psychographic than demographic terms. As such, these are challenging times for marketers and they need all the help they can get to make the brands in their portfolios sufficiently customised and desirable.

On the face of it, this should be good news for qualitative market research – after all, this is the methodological school that prides itself on its ability to uncover people's true feelings and motivations. In theory, it is the ideal technique for the micro-marketing age.