In honor of Throwback Thursday, we thought we’d revisit one of our most popular blogs! The market research landscape is ever changing, and we know there’s always room for innovation and forward thinking, both of which are important to our mission as researchers. However, it’s important to pause for a moment and think about the basics. In this case, let’s take a look back at four different qualitative methods you can use to uncover helpful insights from consumers:
- DIRECT EXPLORATION
- MONADIC TESTING
- SEQUENTIAL MONADIC TESTING
- DISCRETE CHOICE TESTING
When a client has multiple concepts or products to test, they often turn to us for help in designing the research to optimize their insights. In doing so, we have to make the choice between several different testing options.
Here is a quick guide for researchers and clients alike on how to use each. Below you’ll find quick definitions and examples. It is important to note that these are all taken within the context of qualitative research. Examples and definitions will be somewhat different for statistical or quantitative testing.
1. DIRECT EXPLORATION
This method is generally used in the initial phases of testing to gauge expectations, attitudes, and initial interest in a potential product or concept among a targeted group of individuals. This approach usually does not provide the sample with stimuli, but instead relies on them to give open-ended, unaided feedback. This feedback is then used as the initial building block for further development.
Understand pain points current users have with a product’s usage to help develop better packaging.
A major CPG company needed to understand consumer pain points with storage and pouring using their current packaging. The consumer feedback was used to develop new, innovative packaging that directly addressed consumer needs.
2. MONADIC TESTING
Monadic testing involves providing the respondent with an individual concept, product, or isolated aspect of the stimulus. In monadic testing, the stimulus is shown and evaluated on its own, separately from other designs. This is a common approach when direct comparisons aren’t desired. Instead, a team needs to get a completely clean read on each piece of stimuli.
After gaining insights during initial exploration, show one potential new idea and have respondents discuss their overall reactions.
A petcare company uses feedback from a previous round of exploratory research and creates a potential new package idea for pet food. Respondents are exposed to the one idea and discuss their likes, dislikes, purchase interest, and areas of confusion or red flags.
3. SEQUENTIAL MONADIC TESTING
Like monadic testing, sequential monadic testing involves showing one piece of stimulus at a time. However, in sequential monadic tests, respondents will also be shown another alternative design, and sometimes several additional designs. This is an excellent option for understanding small differences and preferences between two (or more) designs, as each is shown on its own and given the respondents’ full attention.
Have respondents view and evaluate both the current design and the new design. Control for order bias by using two groups: one sees the new design first, and the other sees the current design first.
A home and lawn care product company is testing a new design for a lawn care product against its current product. Researchers used two groups, each of which saw the designs in a different order. The company was able to take consumer feedback and make iterative improvements to their concepts.
4. DISCRETE CHOICE TESTING
Discrete choice testing is similar to sequential monadic testing in that multiple options are being tested. The difference is that all choices are presented at once, and respondents might be asked questions regarding different aspects of each concept as it compares to another option. In other words, they are given a set of options and asked to make a discrete choice at each step. In qualitative research, we would then ask them to explain their choice to better understand driving factors.
Show consumers all possible options in each category (font, icons, manipulation, etc.) and test them all against each other at once to determine audience preference for multiple aspects of a concept.
Before you start developing your qualitative research strategy, make sure you understand what kind of testing would best help you meet your goals. If you’re not sure, the GutCheck team is always here to help! To hear more about how you can leverage qualitative research to gain quick consumer insights—including how qualitative research can be used in conjunction with quantitative research—download our complimentary infographic highlighting critical best practices for conducting both types of research methods.