snippets from the guide   (Introduction ⇩)

(Introduction ⇧)

In the age of analytics, The Marketing Analytics Practitioner’s Guide serves as a comprehensive guide to marketing management, covering the underlying concepts and their application.

As advances in technology transform the very nature of marketing, there has never been greater need for marketers to learn marketing.

Essentially a practitioner’s guide to marketing management in the 21st century, the guide blends the art and the science of marketing to reflect how the discipline has matured in the age of analytics.

Application oriented, it imparts an understanding of how to interpret market intelligence and use analytics and marketing research for taking day-to-day marketing decisions, and for developing and executing marketing strategies.

Article — Redefining how we learn marketing.

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Qualitative Research


Qualitative research (qual) reveals what people think and feel, and explores issues by understanding how people’s attitudes and motivations influence their behaviour. It relies on implicit models of analysis of the participants’ verbal and non-verbal communication, their actions and reactions to interpret why people feel the way they do.

The distinguishing characteristic of qual is that it is primarily concerned with “how” and “why”; while it serves to explore and investigate, qual does not attempt to measure.

Group discussions and depth interviews, the two commonly used modes of qual are moderated by trained qual researchers. The researchers make use of open-ended interviewing techniques to explore participants’ feelings and bring forth emotions into the open in a way that they feel comfortable with.

The following Exhibit shows a focus group in progress. Note the use of the one way mirror, and the facilities to record and unobtrusively observe the group discussion.

The chapter highlights the difference between qual and quant research, discusses the use of user-generated content, and clarifies what type of marketing problem each of these methods is best suited to resolve.

It covers all aspects of qual including:

  • group discussions

  • interviews

  • observation

  • online qual

  • the design and preparation of a qual study

  • projective and enabling techniques

    , and
  • body language


It also outline guidelines for practitioner for moderating groups.

For the practitioner, the chapter serves as a guide to the use of qualitative research, and imparts an understanding of how to conduct qual studies.


Projective and Enabling Techniques


Projective and Enabling Techniques

People are complicated. The conflict between our real self and our ideal self creates dissonance in our minds. Our words and actions are often shaped by how we want others to perceive us. We do not always say what we mean, or mean what we say.

The reluctance to say what we really think stems from the fear that our thoughts might not be politically, socially or intellectually correct. To avoid embarrassment, and preserve our self-esteem, we use defence mechanisms, and become experts in making ourselves sound rational.

Driven by the need to preserve our image, our responses are mostly stereotypic; they are shaped by how we want others to perceive us. Only occasionally do we express our heartfelt desires and feelings.

To circumvent these barriers, qual researchers employ a wide range of projective and enabling techniques that reduce the gravity of the subject, by viewing the topic from another perspective. They facilitate a deeper exploration of a person’s feelings, and bring forth emotions into the open in a way that she feels comfortable with; enabling researchers to understand in greater detail how consumers relate to a subject.

This chapter covers a wide range of projective techniques including word association, third party questioning, sentence completion, personification, brand mapping, drawing and collage, bubble drawings, role-playing, and laddering.

The bubble drawing technique invites participants to fill speech and thought into “bubbles” on a cartoon showing an imaginary situation relevant to the research. For example:


Laddering is an interviewing technique designed to trace the underlying attitudes, feelings and emotions about a subject. It begins with a simple question, followed repeatedly with questions about that response. For example:


Laddering can take the respondent from the functional to the emotional plane. It can help peel off the outer objective layers and delve deeper into the subjective truth — the emotions and the values that are driving behaviours. The previous example for instance, reveals the respondent’s anxiety of raising a child in a highly competitive world.

The technique helps to get to the crux of an issue or problem. It can however be intrusive and stressful for the respondent, and should therefore be sparingly used and administered with care.

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Body Language


Body Language

Body Language
Exhibit  Body language reveals the state of mind.

Body language is the language of body posture, gestures, facial expressions and eye movements. It reveals an individual’s state of mind, his or her attitudes, feelings and intentions, and personality traits such as extroversion, introversion, aggression, greed and rivalry. Indeed the language is so rich that researchers claim 60 to 70% of all meaning is derived from body language “... There is no word as clear as body language, once one has learned to read it.”

Body language is of immense importance in qual. It greatly enriches its content, and empowers researchers to read their respondents’ minds. Qualitative researchers need to acquire expertise in the language, so that they can employ it to unlock and read minds, and grasp the full meaning of the messages conveyed to them. The knowledge of body language also helps the moderator to better manage the group engagement and interaction.

Body language is in part innate and instinctive, partly taught and partly imitative. We are experts in using it; we send and receive non-verbal signals all the time, sometimes consciously and sometimes subconsciously. However even though our brains are “programmed” in the use of the language, we are not as capable of reading or interpreting it. Indeed when we try to understand it, it is almost like learning a foreign language.

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