Marketing Information

Overview on Qualitative Data Collection Techniques in International Marketing Research

This article is meant to be a brief review and reminder of some valuable yet often bypassed techniques to collect data on international markets and consumers.

When thinking of market research, surveys are most likely the first technique that comes to ones mind. However, surveys are a quantitative research and, in order to understand customer behavior and the social and cultural context in which our business will operate, we will need to perform some qualitative research as well.

Qualitative methods are most certainly a more appropriate option when in need of researching patterns and attitudes in customer behavior, understand the depth of the environment around the customer, and understand the cultural characteristics then influence a customer - especially when the marketer is not familiar with the country of culture.

There are certain situations where qualitative research alone can provide the marketer with all insights needed to make decisions and take actions; while in some other cases quantitative research might be needed as well.

We will stop by the main qualitative techniques and see how and where they can be employed in international marketing.Craig and Douglas (2000), mention three major types of qualitative data collection techniques:

- observational and quasi-observational techniques;

- projective techniques and depth interviews;

- creative group sessions (synectics).

1. Observational and quasi-observational techniques

Observational techniques involve direct observation of phenomena (in our case, consumers' behavior) in their natural settings. Observational research might be somehow less reliable than quantitative research yet it is more valid and flexible since the marketer is able to change his approach whenever needed.

Disadvantages are given by the limited behavioral variables and the fact that such data might not be generalizable - we can observe a customer's behavior at a given moment and situation but we cannot assume all further customers will act the same.

Quasi-observational techniques are reported to have increased in usage over the past decades, due to the large scale employ of surveillance cameras within stores. Such techniques cost less than pure observational ones since costs associated with video surveillance and taping are far lower than a researcher's wage; the tape can be viewed and analyzed at a later time, at the marketer's convenience. When performing videotaping of consumers' behaviors, they can be asked to give comments and insights upon their thoughts and actions while the conversation itself can be recorded and be further analyzed.

Pure observation: the marketer watches behavior of customers in real-life situation, either in situ or by videotaping the consumers (less intrusive). Videotaping can be specifically recommended when studying patterns of different cultures, since we can easily compare behaviors taped and highlight similarities and / or differences.

Trace measures: consist in collecting and recording traces of consumers' behavior. Such traces can be fingerprints or tear of packages, empty packages, garbage cans analysis and any other ways a marketer can imagine (it's all about creativity here!). In eMarketing, trace measures come under the form of recorded visits and hits - there are numerous professional applications that can help an emarketer analyze the behavior of visitors on his company's website.

Archival measures: can be any type of historical records, public records, archives, libraries, collections of personal documents etc. Such data can prove to be of great use in analyzing behavioral trends and changes in time. Marketers can also identify cultural values and attitudes of a population at a given moment by studying mass media content and advertisement of the timeframe questioned.

Entrapment measures: those are indirect techniques (by comparison to the previously mentioned ones) and consist in asking the respondent to react to a specific stimulus or situation, when the actual subject of investigation is totally different. The marketer plants the real stimulus among many fake ones and studies reactions. The method is quite unobtrusive and the marketer can gather valuable, non-reactive facts. When the respondent becomes aware of the true subject under investigation (s)he might change the behavior and compromise the study.

Protocols: are yet another observational marketing research technique which asks respondents to think out loud and verbally express all their thoughts during the decision-making process. Protocols are of great value for determining the factors of importance for a sale and they can be collected in either real shopping trips or simulated ones.

2. Projective techniques

Such techniques are based on the respondent's performance of certain tasks given by the marketer. The purpose is to have the consumers (respondents) express their unconscious beliefs through the projective stimuli; to express associations towards various symbols, images, signs.

Cooper (1996) suggested that projective techniques can be successfully employed to:- indicate emotional and rational reactions;

- provide verbal and non-verbal communication;

- give permission to express novel ideas;

- encourage fantasy, idiosyncrasy and originality;

- reduce social constraints and censorship;

- encourage group members to share and "open up".

Projective market research techniques can take the following forms, presented below.

Collages - used to understand lifestyles and brand perceptions, respondents are asked to assemble a collage using images and symbols from selected sets of stimuli or from magazines and newspapers of their choice.

Picture completion - certain pictures can be designed to express and visualize the issue under study and respondents have to make associations and / or attribute words to the given pictures.

Analogies and metaphors are used when a larger range of projection is needed, with more complexity and depth of ideas and thoughts on a given brand, product, service, organization. The respondents are asked to freely express their association and analogies towards the object being studied; or they can be asked to select from a set of stimuli (e.g. photos) those that fit the examined subject.

Psycho-drawing is a technique that allows study participants to express a wide range of perceptions by making drawings of what they perceive the brand is (or product, service).

Personalization consists in asking the respondents to treat the brand or product as if it is a person and start making associations or finding images of this person. This technique is especially recommended in order to understand what kind of personality consumers assign to a brand / product / service.

3. In-depth interviews

These techniques of marketing research put an accent on verbal communication and they are efficient especially when trying to discover underlying attitudes and motivations towards a product or a specific market / consumption situation.

Individual in-depth interviews are performed on a person-to-person environment and the interviewer can obtain very specific and precise answers. Such interviews are common in B2B practices of market research, for example when a company conducts a research about a product among their existing corporate customers.

Interviews can be conducted by phone or via internet-based media, from a centralized location: this can greatly reduce costs associated with market research and the results are pretty much as accurate as the face-to-face ones. The only disadvantage would be the lack of non-verbal, visual communication.

Focus groups are basically discussions conducted by a researcher with a group of respondents who are considered to be representative for the target market.

Such meetings are usually held in an informal setting and are moderated by the researcher. Videotaping the sessions is common these days, and it can add more sources of analysis at a later time.

Focus groups are perhaps the ideal technique, if available in terms of costs and time, to test new ideas and concepts towards brands and products; to study customers' response to creative media such as ads and packaging design or to detect trends in consumers' attribute and perception. One of the important advantages of focus groups is the presence of several respondents in the same time, providing a certain synergy. Disadvantages refer mainly to the costs involved and the scarcity of good professionals to conduct the interviews and discussions.

To conclude, we have to keep in mind just how important non-survey data collection techniques are in today's market research. Not only they provide more depth of analysis but they can be performed in significantly less time than surveys and they're more suitable to be employed during the exploratory phases of international marketing research.

Otilia Otlacan is a young professional specialized in eMarketing and eBusiness. She is currently working as independent Marketing Consultant and she is also teaching her own online course in Principles of eMarketing.

You can contact Otilia via her Marketing resources portal at Tea With an Edge of Marketing

Business:Marketing Articles from
03/19/2018 03:56 PM
Strategic Customer Attraction Marketing Blueprint
With the ever changing face of the economy the trend to more and more people choosing to start their own business for various reasons continue to rise. With that said - along with this trend there is an increasing need for structured marketing process and client acquisition processes and methodologies.
03/17/2018 10:37 AM
Global Milk Industry Trend Analysis and Outlook
Milk is considered to be a complete food and hence is an inevitable part of human diet. For any mammal, milk is the primary source of nutrition, especially for infants, since this white liquid is easily digestible.
03/16/2018 12:30 PM
How to Make Marketing Investments Pay Off
Customers are your source of revenue so it makes sense to invest money into attracting, converting and retaining them. But as you plan your efforts, here are a few things to consider to make your customer investments pay off.
03/14/2018 12:59 PM
Pricing Graphic Design Projects
Here are some suggestions on how to put value on graphic design services. Using three components, hourly rate, market value and client budget, you can determine what design services are worth and still make money.
03/12/2018 03:10 PM
Marketing Automation - Why Has It Become the Need of the Hour for Marketers?
Marketing automation as a tool has come of age very recently to compete on the technology front and is doing wonders already. A stat provided by Forrester in its report "Gauging Your Progress and Success" mentioned that 58% of top-performing marketing companies have adopted marketing automation. The technology is supported by various other statistics, which stress mainly on the use of marketing automation tools for considering both simple and sophisticated campaigns. All the stats aside, you need to understand whether it really is a good idea to start with. What does it do other than sending automated emails? Firstly, you need to find out your needs, and then understand an automation tool that matches your requirements and offers tailor-made benefits.
03/10/2018 01:12 PM
10 Super Sales Tips to Smash Your Records
Sales methods and techniques are meant to give you a boost in your sales figures. Here are the top 10 salesman tips for a better salesmanship. I tried to explain all these top selling techniques in a very lucid and practical manner.
03/09/2018 11:34 AM
3 Things You Don't Do Now That You Used to Do for Your Business
Business been heading south lately? Perhaps you've stopped doing these three things that you used to do when it was new.
03/08/2018 03:55 PM
Dishonest Marketing: Deceit Is a Lousy Way to Start Relationships
Think the best way to catch someone's attention is to lie to them? Believe that it's okay to trick someone into reading your marketing or sales message? This article examines why that's a fundamentally flawed approach.
03/08/2018 09:22 AM
Appreciate Your Clients Or Colleagues With Custom Coffee Mugs - Here's Why
If you are looking for some new and creative ways to boost your marketing campaign, so, custom coffee mugs can be your friends. They are the way too perfect to leave a lasting impact on clients, co-workers or co-partners. There are a number of companies, who have already taken the advantage of using them in their promotional activities and if you want to know how it works, take a look at the following points.
03/08/2018 09:20 AM
Reasons To Use Printed Key Chains For The Purpose Of Marketing
Marketing is all about coming into the eyes of the visitors and stick in their mind; so, they'll remember you and spread your name to more and more people too. Though to make such campaign successful, you need to go out of the way that leaves a lasting impression and give one a reason to remember your business or brand name.
03/07/2018 12:08 PM
Hiring a Marketing Expert Vs Doing It Yourself
Marketing is a complex field that includes different strategies designed to improve visibility, establish a brand presence, engage prospective customers, and earn more revenue as a result. Business owners need to invest time and money into marketing if they want to stay ahead of the game and stand apart from the competition.
03/06/2018 11:34 AM
Getting Actionable Insights for Endowment Funds
The world has become a global market and political, cultural or financial developments in one part of the world can have a critical impact on your investment... For example, a small article in the newspaper about developments in North Korea can have an impact on your investment in the USA. Point being made is that there are a host of factors that you need to consider when investing in Endowment funds and you must look beyond the traditional historical data.
03/06/2018 11:30 AM
Missing Out On Big Data Opportunities
Even the largest family fund owners are unable to manage the data overload and make its apt use in making optimal investment decisions... Decisions that could mitigate risks and enhance earning potential! A recent research by Ashby Monk of Stanford University (Global Project Center) and Daniel Nadler and Dane Rook of the Kensho Technologies throws insight into how endowments, sovereign wealth funds and some of the biggest pensions handle data.
03/02/2018 12:04 PM
Important Considerations For Creating And Using Business Logos
Business logos are important for branding activities. Your company's logo represents not only your brand but also provides a way for your customers to connect with your business. A logo can offer marketing opportunities at every step. This is why logo designs and signage are of tremendous importance for businesses.
03/02/2018 09:17 AM
Reasons Why You Need A Mobile Marketing Strategy
Mobile marketing undoubtedly unlocks the powerful opportunities for you and help you scale new heights in the market. It is one of the most powerful weapons that turn the table without taking so much time.
02/28/2018 03:46 PM
What Are Your Digital Marketing Challenges? Here Are Our Top 5 (and Some Solutions Too!)
We're already at the end February (and the countdown to spring is on!). If you're like most small business owners, you kicked off January with a new and improved plan for your business, and most likely that included marketing to new prospects and collecting leads.
02/26/2018 03:36 PM
Becoming an Influencer in Your Industry
Influencers bring credibility (beyond the credibility that you have established yourself for your business) that only they can bring. With credibility comes trust and a position at the top of the food chain as subject matter expert.
02/24/2018 07:19 PM
Growth Isn't Linear
Our culture is really good at selling us the "easy road." There are all sorts of ways to make your life easier, supposedly.
02/21/2018 09:50 PM
Using the Marketing Mix to Maximize Customer Returns
The traditional marketing mix used by businesses comprised of 4 key elements thought to be vital to the success of any business. However, with the passage of time and the variations in the kind of products and services offered, there are 7 key elements today in the marketing mix that require constant evaluation to ensure the best possible results.
02/21/2018 08:07 AM
Let's Play The Marketing Game
Marketers, like most professionals, find their work a mental challenge - not unlike playing chess or other games of strategy and tactics. A favorite mental game that marketers play is called "How would I do it?" Want to play?
02/21/2018 07:50 AM
5 Benefits of Roller Banner Displays
Roller banner displays are known by many names. Why are there so many terms for this product? Experts have a logical explanation for it.
02/18/2018 10:11 PM
Why Not Having a Marketing Strategy Is Like Driving With Your Eyes Closed
When it comes to business, one thing that has been a mainstay for successful companies is having a great marketing strategy. In fact, any business that is serious about actually staying in business would not go one day without moving forward with an effective marketing strategy as it is the foundation for how a business remains relevant.
02/16/2018 03:33 PM
5 Ways Integrating CRM With Marketing Automation Will Help You Boost Sales and Grow Your Business
Bringing together robust CRM software with state-of-the-art marketing automation can be a game changer for your business, but it's just one piece of the puzzle. Learn more about the ways marketing, web development and web enhancement services will help you increase qualified leads, drive sales and grow your business.
02/15/2018 03:45 PM
Is Your Marketing Content Authentic and Impactful?
What are you sharing with your audience? Is it content that is aligned with your brand? Are you sharing it with your authentic voice?
02/14/2018 11:36 AM
The Impact of Technology on Marketing and How Brands Can Use Technology in Marketing
Technology and marketing are now going hand in hand. Brands are using technology to create engaging customer experience. After studying the impact of technology on marketing, in this article I have shared some examples showcasing how different industries are using technology to deliver a better customer experience.
02/07/2018 12:56 PM
A Guide to Going Viral
Reaching customers and creating awareness is something that determines the success of any business. The access to customers has become significantly easier over the years thanks to the development of social media platforms.
02/07/2018 12:04 PM
4 Important Trends of Content Marketing in 2018
Did you know that content marketing is evolving? What worked in 2016 didn't work in 2017. Do you assume that the trend will remain the same in 2018? This article explore four important trends that will shape content marketing in 2018.
02/05/2018 02:29 PM
Best Way to Promote a Business
Whether you're just starting out or have been in business for years, these proven marketing strategies will help your business find new customers without spending a fortune. 1. Plan your attack.
02/05/2018 09:55 AM
Next-Level Marketing With Business Cards
Most people are under the false impression that marketing with business cards is simply handing their cards out to anyone and everyone. Truth be told - it requires some creative thinking to be able to effectively market and acquire a bigger 'return on investment' with this marketing technique. Business card marketing, as well as the connection making and relationship building that goes with it, is more of an art and requires 'out of the box thinking' and standing out.
02/02/2018 09:12 AM
Vital Marketing Concepts
Effective Marketing is a cherished desire of startups, SMEs, and firms for stable market share. The effectiveness of a marketing strategy is based on insightful understanding of some vital marketing concepts such as marketing, selling, branding, advertising, and networking.
02/01/2018 11:39 AM
Domestic Vs International Marketing
Let's first start our conversation by asking why? Why marketing? Why HR? Why finance? Why any of those or any other fields is important for the business whether it's a startup or a huge organization.
01/31/2018 09:30 PM
5 Benefits Pop Up Stands Will Fetch For Your Marketing Efforts
Banner stands have lots of names to them, including pop up stands, roll up banners and pull up stands. They may look simple, but the truth is that they can impact your marketing positively and effectively for that matter. They make very good marketing tools, especially when you are looking to give customers short insight to the services or products you are offering them. At an exhibition, the pop up stands make very reliable exhibition banner stands to bring customers to your stand by sending the message across in an interesting way. Compared to other promotional channels, the stands make very affordable tools which could be why they have become very popular among business people.
01/31/2018 12:56 PM
10 Steps to Design a Successful Marketing Plan
Generally, companies are broken down into four levels of hierarchy, the corporate, the division, the business unit and the product level. The overall plan of the company is designed at a corporate level. As part of this planning, each resource is allocated to each division of the company.
01/31/2018 12:55 PM
The Importance of Sports in City Marketing
Countries and cities are being promoted with a very similar way to products or services from private brands. One major difference, though, is that this promotion is being performed not only by private brands, but also by the people of that particular city or country in partnership with governmental agencies. This is relevant for the economy of the country/city brand and this is no coincidence that the major world cities like New York, London, Paris and more function well and each year the number of tourists is more than double the number of the residents.
01/30/2018 03:58 PM
Do You Have a Marketing Strategy and Plan for Your Business in 2018?
A Marketing Strategy and Plan is the first and most important piece of your roadmap to success. Without this, you can't attain your business goals.
01/28/2018 01:15 PM
Would You Wait In Line For Nutella?
Have you done your market research on the top product in your line up? In the scope of all things marketing, today's breach comes with a lack of research and market studies. On a case by case line of study, the average product has low marketability, and yet... In a depression market, your product maybe the "Cat's Meow" that brings buyers to the lineup! What say you? Nutella line?
01/26/2018 08:12 AM
Don't Discount - Offer More Value
STOP discounting!!! Instead, innovate your business, so you offer more value than your competition even if that means increasing your price. When you discount your price, you lose the full value of every dollar you discount. Bundling increases the perceived value, so prospects buy more.
01/24/2018 08:25 PM
We've Got Some Webinar Tips for You
Webinars are a great way to deliver content (such as an online course), that is either live or recorded for an evergreen program. But, webinars are also used to deliver content for a "freebie", or lead generation piece.
01/24/2018 02:30 PM
5 Marketing Tips to Grow Your Startup
In every passing second, three new startups are launched worldwide. So that makes it 11000 per hour and 25,9200 per day. But out all the startup's only 10% of the startup's getting succeeded and the remaining getting failed.On that note, here are some of the marketing techniques that help you to be on the list of the 10%.
01/23/2018 03:53 PM
Stop Spending Money on Marketing Until You Read This
If you are finalizing your marketing plans for 2018, STOP, don't commit to spend a penny until you read this to see if you are spending your money effectively. Not seeing results from your marketing? Not sure where or how to spend your marketing budget? The key elements every small business needs to get the best return on investment from their marketing.
01/23/2018 09:41 AM
How to Market Your Door Company
Many people might not realise it, but door companies may find it more challenging than other types of businesses. Advertising a product to make a home liveable is tricky as we take this product for granted on a daily basis.
01/22/2018 09:34 AM
Is Corporate Gift Giving Important for My Business?
If you want to strengthen your relationship with your existing clients and attract new, potential ones, it's important for you to use personalized corporate gifts. These gifts play an essential role when it comes to improving the company image or brand.
01/22/2018 08:19 AM
Three Ways Customer Segmentation Can Save Your Marketing Budget
For anyone who runs their own business, there is always a combination of emotions that makes launching both the most exhilarating moment of your life, as well as the most nauseating thing you've ever experienced. As time goes on, you find that while you are enjoying some success because of the curiosity factor, you aren't finding the success you wish you could get, and this is where customer segmentation can make the biggest difference in the world.
01/21/2018 10:15 AM
Fishing for Customers? Find the Right Lure
The marketer also wades into fast-moving waters, and just like the fisherman, the marketer keeps changing lures. The marketer does it by changing marketing programs, headlines, media, copy, offers, graphics, prices, stories, etc. Lures that bring success are kept and used until environmental or competitive conditions change.
01/19/2018 03:26 PM
This Article Can Help You to Find Additional Funding for Your Business
Whether you need more stock, new machinery to manufacture new products, increase factory or retail space or just need to increase the number of employees, gaining access to additional funding can give your business the boost it might need. But short of applying to try and win an investment on TV's The Vault, what are the key steps to successfully obtain funding? BEFORE JUMPING IN AND FILLING IN MANY APPLICATION FORMS, YOU NEED TO CONSIDER WHAT YOUR LENDER WILL NEED TO KNOW?
01/17/2018 03:38 PM
The Importance of Standing Out
As a college marketing student, I hear day in and day out about the importance of branding and the ability to stand out. When I think about this concept, I am either overwhelmed by the thought of trying to become noticeable in such a huge world, or I am simply uninterested because sometimes I believe that all I have to be is a good student and a hard worker to be successful. I have to admit that just about every working adult tells us students that we just need to get through school, and not worry too much about our...
01/16/2018 08:04 AM
Are You on Top of Your Marketing Game?
What are the things that businesses can do to remain at their best and develop their growth? This is not a straightforward question and there are different things that can work. They include the quality, the style of management, and even the business environment.
01/16/2018 08:03 AM
How to Influence People to Purchase Without Hard Selling
Things have really changed in the world today and we are now hyper-connected. Prospects are able to find the information needed very easily. This can be regarding services and products. As such, it is very important that people adapt to the changes. The best speakers use science and data to help salespeople to see selling differently. It is no longer about that old-fashioned selling approach. This was an enthusiastic and persuasive pitch for any service or product. Things are done differently now and this has changed business as we know it today.
01/11/2018 12:06 PM
Voice Overs and Your Business
Videos are one of the most important marketing tools that you can use for your business. Informative compelling voice overs are one of the most important tools for your videos. Videos are everywhere you go and because of the latest technology, you can watch them on the go as well.
01/10/2018 03:29 PM
New Year Sales - Should You Be Discounting Your Rates?
Now that we're past most of the holidays (there are still many faiths celebrating), we certainly have passed the biggest spending period of the year. Many of us stuck to our budgets, some well... not so much!

home | site map |