In a single day, we make around 30,000 decisions! These range from routine decisions such as what to wear to work in the morning, to strategic decisions that rely on a more tactical approach. I’m sure if you’ve ever been in the position of launching a new research study, you are probably familiar with strategic decision making after facing a choice of research methodologies to use.
Researchers today face a great long list of choice — which tools, methods, and data do we use? Using a variety of quant and qual methods all together opens up more opportunities and insights than relying on just one.
In this scenario, I imagine you usually face a lengthy list of insight tools ranging from quantitative tools such as surveys and polls, to qualitative tools such as focus groups and forums. There are a variety of organisations that have demonstrated success when using both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies together, which highlights the growing attraction of a mixed methodological approach spanning industries. Drawing on examples from the agriculture, finance and retail industry, I’ve handpicked a few examples that prove why brands should be open to using both quantitative and qualitative research methods in unison:
1. John Deere’s Buyer Persona Research
To illustrate a mixed-methodological approach, let’s first look towards the agriculture industry specifically, John Deere. As a well-respected leader in agriculture and construction machinery, John Deere recognised their insights division was experiencing an over-reliance on qualitative research as opposed to a mix of both qualitative and quantitative methods.
To overcome this, John Deere leveraged qualitative research including in-depth interviews and focus groups to help formulate quantitative surveys which addressed issues highlighted by participants during qualitative studies. In particular, John Deere’s buyer persona research, enabled segmentation research to be conducted helping them to identify an unknown customer segment! By conducting huge amounts of qualitative and quantitative research, John Deere were able to identify their audiences’ demographics, create buyer personas and identify an underserved customer, small scale farmers.
So where does this research come into play at John Deere? Well, with recognition towards the small scale farmers segment, John Deere demonstrated they could effectively use research insight to help dictate their digital marketing strategic decisions.
They discovered that their online content featuring large machinery and larger agriculture practices wasn’t relevant to small scale-farmers, so to overcome this, John Deere leveraged a ‘Get Down to Dirt’ advertising campaign that invited small holder farmers to share day-in-the-life videos to feature across their social media platforms. Through this, a micro-site launched to serve meaningful content, enabling John Deere to effectively target and capture their newly identified small scale farmer customers.
2. Monzo’s User Research
An equally exciting industry to explore is the financial industry, which boasts a growing number of challenger brands. To pick one, Monzo, is a bank that has successfully disrupted the market through its customer-centric strategy and removal of physical stores. In a similar fashion to John Deere, Monzo’s rapid expansion has been supported by its seamless integration of quantitative and qualitative methodologies. Monzo have mastered their services’ success through their responsiveness to solving customers’ existing and unknown problems.
Strategically, Monzo have established a three-step research approach when developing their app: discovery, design & build, and optimisation. Across each of these phases, a combination of tools such as surveys, diary studies, in-depth interviews and user testing are optimised to support an organisational culture, which positively leverages research insight. Interestingly, these three phases have enabled Monzo’s customers’ problems to be explored and for interactive prototypes to be tested. By doing this, Monzo have used their research strengths to compete with competitors and adapt fast to face customers’ problems.
At the backbone of Monzo’s fusion of qualitative and quantitative research, Testing Tuesdays frequently deliver consumer insight across Monzo’s organisation! By devoting one day of the week for running user testing sessions, Monzo have facilitated real-time testing for product and design teams to observe. At the start of these exciting endeavours, the team hypothesise how users will interact with Monzo. Following this, consumers are invited to complete interactive tasks enabling designers to observe consumers’ behaviours and immediately analyse results in real time.
These sessions have proven to be a great way of outlining to designers the specific behaviours users show during product usage, thus providing clarity surrounding customers’ actual usage of the service. Successfully, through this observation, Monzo leverages two key advantages: firstly, designers’ assumptions about consumers’ usage don’t dictate product design and secondly, a fast response can be made to apply product design changes. Ultimately, this allows Monzo to take a powerful stance when it comes to effectively designing their services!
3. Employee Wellbeing at John Lewis
With over 80,000 employees in the UK alone, John Lewis recognised their responsibilities when it came to corporate social responsibility, particularly, their employees’ wellbeing. Consequently, John Lewis launched research to help form metrics and generate insight that would ultimately shape their organisational knowledge about employee’s wellbeing.
Adopting a dual approach during their research studies, John Lewis showed strengths when it came to employee engagement with this success strongly pointing towards their adoption of a wide breadth of research tools! In particular, the brand infused their methodology with the likes of quantitative demographic trends as well as qualitative employee feedback forums, which enables them to leverage internal organisational insight and proactively make decision about their company’s culture.
Putting John Lewis’ mixed methodology approach in the spotlight, their research, which fed into their Working Well campaign, provides an excellent perspective on the impact a dual approach can have on an organisation’s strategy. This is because John Lewis drew data from occupational quantitative data employee feedback surveys and forums, which enabled John Lewis to gain a strong foundation of insight to estimate the true costs of overlooking employee’s wellbeing.
Off the back of their research, John Lewis identified that financially, organizations can reduce expenditure by preventing conditions such as mental health and musculoskeletal problems. They estimated that by offering preventative services such as physiotherapy, wellbeing communities and mental health counselling, annual savings of £1,131 per employee will be made by 2025. Positively, by prioritising employee’s wellbeing, John Lewis have leveraged these findings to encourage the Government to support employers investing in their employees’ wellbeing by making occupational health services exempt from tax.
In a nutshell, there are a variety of businesses are already demonstrating how to impactfully fuse quantitative and qualitative research methodologies in the pursuit of more accurate and in-depth insights. I’m sure you know many examples of your own, but from this article alone, we’ve seen just how new customer segments can be identified, users’ experiences are improved and employee wellbeing is supported through the use of fusion research techniques.
With this, insight professionals can indulge in a full choice of tools safe in the knowledge that they are on the right track to enhanced insight generation. So, the next time you are faced with your lengthy choice of research tools, which ones will you be choosing to use?
This article was originally published on the FlexMR Insight Blog and can be accessed here.