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  • Writer's pictureemilyspensieri

The Evolution of Qualitative Research Series – Part 1: Qualitative Research Builds Brands Women Want

In Part One of the Evolution of Qualitative Research Series, I will be discussing why the role of qualitative research is integral on the journey to marketing more effectively with women – why it builds brands women want to do business with. A successful marketing initiative is typically built on the foundation of insightful qualitative research. Qualitative research uncovers nuances that can turn messaging on its ear. A great example of this comes courtesy of a client who asked to have an existing advertising campaign tested with two groups of women in our SheThinks qualitative research sessions. Do you like the ad and why? Do you understand the ad? Straightforward questions that provided some interesting insights. However, based on how the participants answered the questions, rather than what they answered, I felt we were missing the most salient point. So, we then asked if the message was important to them in anyway at all and that’s when they unanimously replied, “No.” Boom, messaging on its ear!

But it’s much more than the nuances that make qualitative research a must when you’re marketing with women. Women want to be part of a community – it’s how we’re hardwired. We’re much more about the “we” than we are the “I,” which is why being in a qualitative research setting creates a comfortable camaraderie where discussion flows and insights are revealed. Women also respond more favourably in casual settings. If you want authentic responses from women, boardroom settings, two-way mirrors or formal surveys are not the answers. Pre-COVID, the answer was a great restaurant or café and hopefully, in the not too distant future, it will be again. (In part 2 of this series, we’ll discuss how qualitative research has had to evolve post-COVID). Qualitative research gives brands the opportunity to establish a relationship with their female audiences and she wants to connect with brands, you just need to give her a reason to connect with yours.

Your research methodology is an integral component to the connection. The research should feel like an experience, not just a fact-finding mission. Women notice the details and they matter to her – they show her that you value her opinion and her time – you value her. A great ambiance, a sumptuous meal and delicious drinks are details she’ll notice – clearly, you value her. During SheThinks sessions, participants also receive a small gift (it doesn’t need to be expensive, just thoughtful), in addition to their honorariums. Participants gush over the additional gifts – she notices the details, which makes her feel valued! And, when she feels valued, she’s going to offer authentic insights that will help you build brands she most definitely wants to do business with. A phenomenal research experience creates brand ambassadors that will begin spreading the word about your brand (women tell an average of 22 people about a brand experience). It can also create advisory boards. Our clients reach out to SheThinks

participants for years after the initial research sessions and the groups keep coming back because they are extremely invested in the brand’s success. I’m often asked if creating a fabulous experience for research participants creates bias. The answer is, unequivocally, no. Our research participants are brutally honest if they feel the brand is veering down the wrong path. Participants feel their opinions are truly valued; thus, they feel their honesty, regardless of how unpleasant, is a requirement.

Key Takeaways:

· Qualitative research uncovers nuances that turn messaging on its ear

· Qualitative research enables women to feel like they are part of a community, creating a comfortable camaraderie, where discussion flows and insights are revealed

· Qualitative research should feel like an experience, not a fact-finding mission

· Paying attention to the details helps create strong relationships with female audiences because she notices the details and they matter to her

Knowing what she’s thinking and why has never been more important. If you would like to learn more about how qualitative research is the key to marketing effectively with women, please contact me at

In Part 2 of The Evolution of Qualitative Research Series, we will discuss how qualitative research evolved post-Covid to meet client and participant expectations. This series is featured in the M2Moms Constant Conference at

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