Steve Jobs once famously remarked, “it isn’t the consumers’ job to know what they want”, highlighting a perspective on innovation that challenges conventional thinking.
The associates at Cupertino, the epicentre of Apple’s innovation, possess unparalleled expertise in iPhones and iPads, understanding their intricacies and foreseeing their future evolution. Similarly, brand owners are intimately acquainted with their products and brands, surpassing the familiarity of the average consumer.
This prompts the question: Why, then, do these companies invest in consumer research?
Among several compelling reasons, one stands out: despite their deep knowledge, these organizations recognize the necessity of understanding the thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and desires of ordinary people.
The paradox lies in the fact that, armed with extensive knowledge, marketers may view their products and brands through a lens that significantly diverges from the perspective of real consumers. This skewed perspective can obscure critical insights. Moreover, marketers are susceptible to selective perception, where they may inadvertently filter or interpret research findings in a manner that aligns with their preconceived notions.
In essence, consumer research serves as a vital corrective lens, helping companies bridge the gap between their internal expertise and the external perceptions of their target audience. It allows them to see their products and brands as consumers see them, ultimately leading to more informed decisions and innovative developments.
Quantitative research (quant) is widely used in marketing to methodically investigate markets via theoretical models and statistical techniques. As a marketer, you will find the practical, diverse applications of quant useful for formulating strategies and refining the marketing mix of your brand. Applications such as brand image tracking, market segmentation and measurement of brand equity, discussed in earlier chapters are a few among the multitude of examples of quant in practice.
Some of its key characteristics, in comparison to qualitative research (qual), are described in the previous chapter, Qualitative Research, in the section Comparison between Qual and Quant.
This section covers the basic processes and practices in quant, including topics such as problem definition, research design, questionnaire design, information needs, sampling, data collection, online research, and the analysis process. It serves as a guide to the use of quantitative research and imparts an understanding of how to conduct quant studies.
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