Segmentation Video Series: Episode 04
Exploratory Qualitative Research

Segmentation: Episode 04 Transcript

Hi, this is Clay Dethloff, I am with the Qualitative Research Group here at Decision Analyst. Basically, we’re the qualitative group, and we’re going to talk today about exploratory qualitative or, really, kind of finding out what we don’t know as we get ready to do a segmentation study.

A couple of keys that we need to understand as we go into a qualitative session like this is, we want to understand as much information as possible. You know, we want to make sure that we don’t really go in with any preconceived ideas of the type of segmentation that’s going to be coming out: you know, whether it’s a psychographic segmentation, or behavioral segmentation, demographic, or lifestyle. At this point we don’t care, we just want to make sure that we can cover as much information as possible, so that we really get a complete picture of the consumer, in order to develop a segmentation that’s going to be relevant to the marketplace.

A couple of things that we want to make sure that we do, is to understand both the rational and emotional underpinnings that consumers have. We want to understand the perceptions, the motivations, the decision-making processes they go through.

  • Understanding Rational and Emotional Influence
    You know, context is really important in this format, because, for example, I drink a lot of soft drinks and if you ask me why I drink the particular brand I do, I’m gonna tell you that it’s because I like the taste. But if you deep, go a little bit deeper and you try to understand the context of when I’m using the soft drink, what you’ll do is you’ll find that, you know what, a lot of my soft drink consumption is in the morning. And the reason, if you then ask me why I drink it in the morning, it’s because it gives me energy, it’s kind of my kickstart for the day. I’m not a coffee drinker, but the soft drink that I drink is, I’m kind of looking at it as my morning coffee or my morning kickstart.

    You know, it’s important that as we do this, we understand that different categories, different people are going to have different motivations. Some are going to be at a higher level (a more emotional level), some are going to be at a more rational level. We recently did a project where we had the same benefits that were coming out for respondents, kind of the products did the same thing for everybody. But when we went deeper, when we really did some deep dives, what we understood was there are really kind of three primary motivations. One was, “What did the product do for me?” It was really kind of an internal focus. One was, “What did the product do for others?” People who were talking about this were kind of, had a more external focus. And, then, finally, there were those who just kind of looked on it as the benefits of this were a financial and [they were] able to save some money. So, same benefits, same characteristics, from the product standpoint really gave an a deeper emotional level, three segments that we could then target specifically.
  • Combining In-Depth and
In-the-Moment Techniques
    One of the other things about this is it combines in-depth and in-the-moment. You know, we use different methodologies when we think about in-depth interviews: we use focus groups, we use in-person interviews, whether they’re web camera interviews, or in-depth interviews at a central facility, or at a place of business, if we’re doing a b2b session.

    Recently, we did a project where we combined online web camera interviews with ethnographies, and again those ethnographies are important because we want to understand not only the in-depth aspect, but we want to understand the in-the-moment aspects too. A lot of times these are done by virtual ethnographies, or shop-alongs are also a great means to understand what’s happening not only in the decisionmaking process, the perceptions that they have, but what are those actual behaviors that consumers and our target audiences are using.

[The] key piece of the information coming out of exploratory qualitative, quite frankly, is the consumer language. It enables us to move forward both in the quantitative survey as well as kind of internalized within our clients—how people and consumers are talking about your product, what it really means to them in their own language. When we think about the exploratory qualitative one of the things that we want to make sure we is, we have a category knowledge.

Also, a lot of times we have clients that want to use heavy or loyal users of their product to develop the segmentation, but we want to cast as wide a net as possible so that we can really understand all of the intricacies and the things that are happening within that category. Again, we want to be able to come out of these sessions, and with those important characteristics and dimensions that are going to be going into a quantitative survey and be within the consumers’ own language.

  • Combining In-Depth and
In-the-Moment Techniques
    I mentioned a little bit ago that when you come into an exploratory qualitative, you really don’t want to come in with any preconceived ideas of the type of segmentation. However, when you come out of it, you really should have some kind of hypothesis of the segments that are going to be coming out, and giving that insight as you develop your quantitative segmentation.

    That’s it for this episode. Our next episode is going to be research design considerations. Have a good day and thank you.

Contact Decision Analyst

If you would like more information on Qualitative Exploratory Research, or if you have any questions, please contact Clay Dethloff by emailing or calling 1-817-640-6166.