EMERGING TRENDS FOR QUALITATIVE MARKETING RESEARCH IN 2008
1. Consulting gains in importance - Marketers want researchers to serve as strategic partners and consultants rather than just data collectors. They want to understand the meaning behind and strategy implications of study findings.
2. Mixed methodologies - Study designs will increasingly employ mixed methods and findings will integrate findings from alternative data collection approaches such as focus groups, online research, depth interviews, ethnographic observation, user diaries, etc. This approach - also called "triangulation" or "bricolage"- provides deeper, richer and more valid insights into consumers' behaviors and attitudes than any single method.
3. Greater importance of social sciences perspectives for deeper insights into consumers - Concepts and approaches drawn from psychology, cognitive science, anthropology and socio-linguistics are gaining importance. Researchers are using these ideas to dig beneath the surface of what consumers are saying .
4. Beyond traditional advertising media - In response to the declining reach of TV advertising, many marketers are allocating more resources to sales promotion, point-of-sale messages and novel uses of media, such as embedding advertising communications inside programming. Qualitative research methods that lend themselves to these new approaches, such as retail ethnography, are gaining favor.
5. Deeper engagement with the consumer - A desire to delve deeply into the consumer's everyday reality - at home, in their neighborhoods, at work, while shopping, during leisure - is growing. Ethnographic approaches are becoming particularly important to support emerging marketing orientations such as viral marketing or marketing to the individual.
6. Growing importance of cultural perspectives - Group memberships based upon nationality, age, interests and other sub-cultural traits are coming to be seen as sharing significance with psychological explanations (drives, needs, meanings) of consumer behavior.