Think of the last time you purchased a brand-new pair of shoes. How many different stores did you go to – or did you buy online? Did you try them on, or just grab your size? Were there particular brands you were looking for? Now think of the process of purchasing a new house. Would those same questions be applicable? They are both purchases, so why is this such a ludicrous comparison?
Both instances certainly require information to make a decision, but the depth of information you need to feel comfortable is quite different. Not all purchases require the same level of product knowledge to make an informed decision, and likewise not all business objectives require the same level of research to answer their questions.
Typically, we think of a research project as a long, detailed assignment requiring a multitude of resources, with the largest of those being time and money. But in reality, needs evolve every day. In a market driven by ever changing consumer expectations, often you don’t have the capability to capture an answer to a business question or formulate a response through a traditional six-month study, or even a one-month one. So, what happens when you run across this situation; do you just go without?
That is when we look to a more agile, nimble solution: quick-turn qualitative. Quick-turn qualitative approaches provide enough information to make an informed decision without the traditional time and efforts associated with more traditional research.
What is Quick-Turn Qualitative?
The lean, pragmatic methodology is based on improving your decision-making process by adding just enough information to justify your decisions when otherwise you might act on faith alone. It is intended to address straightforward, simple objectives, so you can quickly get the insights in a fast and affordable fashion. This constraint-driven research is meant to be completed in less than two weeks without depleting your resources.
It isn’t a substitute for traditional research methods, but rather a complementary approach. It shouldn’t aim to provide a complete understanding, or give you conclusive, statistically significant, exhaustive information. Just as a shoe purchase doesn’t require the same amount of effort as a home purchase, it’s meant for those research questions that simply don’t need as much in-depth research.
When Should You Use Quick-Turn Qualitative (QtQ)?
- When you have a tight timeline, QtQ allows you to strictly focus on answering the business question.
- When you have historically not conducted research, QtQ can be used instead of “going with your gut,” only to miss an imperative aspect that could’ve been avoided by a fact check.
- When something is better than nothing. QtQ serves those instances of gray areas, where any type of clarifying information can steer you in the right direction.
Below are real-world instances that illustrate when quick-turn qualitative is most effective.
Concept Validation. Quick-turn qualitative aligns with lean startup thinking and a desire to fail faster. Innovation groups in R&D are constantly rolling out new product ideas and enhancements. With quick-turn research, you can conduct a pre-test on the ideas in the beginning stage. This approach allows you to fact check your hypothesis and confirm you are on the right path. Validated product concepts are more likely to thrive and result in a higher return on investment.
Crisis Intervention. Quick-turn qualitative can be utilized as a means of crisis intervention. We live in a world where our consumer market is incredibly reactive; therefore, businesses must be incredibly responsive. When crisis strikes, not only does a brand need to know how to respond, but they need to execute their message quickly. In this situation, confident, swift application of a quick-turn qualitative methodology can provide answers and give a directional sense of how to respond most effectively.
Ad Testing & Brand Perception. Quick-turn qualitative is ideal for stimuli testing, whether it’s a concept, creative, ad, message, or package. The direct questions and a head-to-head comparison provide actionable insights on how the stimuli measure up to one another, and how they impact the brand perception and business overall. This type of testing can be done in the early stages, to get directional insight, or later, to get a confirmation that the winning creative will drive the necessary results.
If you’d like to learn more about quick-turn qualitative, and how it can serve as an effective solution to your business needs, feel free to contact me.