2 examples of qualitative studies carried out by HEC Junior Conseil
What is a qualitative study?
What is a qualitative mission?
A qualitative study aims to evaluate criteria that are difficult to quantify. To do this, it often consists of interviews with open questions, i.e. questions that are broad enough to allow the interviewee to develop his or her comments and to add nuances spontaneously (for example: what do you think of the new tapas bar that has just opened near your home?) This type of interview lasts between 15 and 45 minutes on average, which is why the number of interviewees is often limited. The interviews can be conducted in many different ways, but often the interviewers prefer face-to-face or phoning (telephone interviews).
In what context can a qualitative study be used?
The purpose of a qualitative study is to understand the opinion of customers in a precise and personal way. It focuses on their demands, their expectations, their needs, their sources of motivation or hindrance... It is an approach that aims to identify the habits and behaviors of customers, particularly with regard to a product that you want to market. It can be used, for example, to measure the satisfaction of a customer with a new product, while understanding exactly the positive and negative points of the product. (for example: we can see that the customers appreciated the usefulness of the product but not its design).
Thus any type of company, small or large, can use a qualitative study to:
- Optimize its development, in other words diversify its offer, reach new customers and markets. Indeed, this kind of study allows you to better understand the market you want to address, for example, to have data on the value perception of potential customers to adapt your offer and target the right customers to maximize the profitability of the new product. Thus, avoid launching a product that will not seduce and be immediately the most relevant possible.
- To serve as a market exploration phase that can then become the basis for a market study because it allows us to obtain precise values on markets that are not well known, where little data can be found in the databases. The qualitative study thus makes it possible to create these missing data. In the long run, a pitch deck can also be made, which will help to raise funds to carry out the project. (LINKS)
- To have a return on the launch of a product, that is to say to measure precisely the satisfaction of the customers in order to identify the positive and negative points of the offer and to be able to improve this offer in the long term.
- Study the company's reputation, i.e. understand how customers perceive the brand in order to identify areas for improvement.
- Find solutions to know how to position itself against its competitors, thanks to an analysis of the customers' opinions on the different competitors' offers.
To give a more concrete example, we can think of an entrepreneur who would like to launch his tapas bar business, he could therefore have a qualitative study done to find out what customers would like in an offer like his, the customers will bring their ideas which could be very constructive to make the project as relevant as possible (for example, offering a vegetarian option).
* Qualitative mission at HEC JE
HEC-JE conducts more than ten qualitative studies each year. Each HEC-JE qualitative study is accompanied by a summary produced by the mission's administrators. This summary is an analysis of the data collected during the interview phases. It allows us to identify the most important information and to formulate recommendations.
To make our point more concrete, we will now detail two qualitative studies that we conducted at HEC JE.
I- Qualitative study for Echo-tube
In what context did Echo-Tube call on HEC-JE?
Echo-Tube is a start-up company that offers cleaning robots to clean up French waterways by intercepting waste in the waterways. Their clientele has been mainly composed of local authorities and public actors. However, following the Covid-19 crisis, the company recorded a considerable drop in sales and wanted to diversify its offer to revive its activity.
(...) Their business has been boosted thanks to the innovative solutions brought by the qualitative study, such as the opening of new rental services and the accentuation of availability and displacement for a quick installation.
In order to meet this demand, HEC-JE looked at the private sector to see if there were actors interested in the Echo-Tube offer and if so, who they were. Specifically, HEC-JE used a new law concerning the maintenance and ownership of waterways to target the most interesting actors and drew up a precise list of these actors. Thanks to this listing, HEC-JE then set up telephone interviews in order to obtain a maximum of exploitable data (for example: what are the main expectations of a private actor? Are they more interested in a purchase or rental service and for what reasons?) Finally, HEC-JE produced a synthesis of the data collected to make it perfectly understandable and usable for Echo-Tube. This synthesis was of course enhanced with personalized recommendations.
What did Echo-Tube get out of it?
Thanks to the intervention of HEC-JE, Echo-Tube is now in possession of a precise listing of companies potentially interested in their product, notably leisure centers, industrialists and even private individuals with water areas. Echo-tube can therefore easily contact them. Moreover, their business has been boosted thanks to the innovative solutions brought by the qualitative study, such as the opening of new rental services and the accentuation of the availability and the displacement for a fast installation.
II- Qualitative study for a large private equity firm.
In what context did she call on HEC-JE?
The private equity firm in question had just launched a new program, the goal of which was to help young, modest entrepreneurs who were having difficulty getting started. The company wanted to measure the impact of this new program by obtaining information on beneficiary satisfaction.
Thus, in order to respond to this request, HEC-JE set up different interviews not only with the beneficiaries but also with their relatives in order to compare the feelings and draw more complete conclusions. Here again, HEC-JE produced a synthesis of these data and drew conclusions concerning the positive points (e.g.: really useful help, interesting result for the beneficiaries) and the points to be improved in the program (communication on the program).
What did the company get out of it?
This qualitative study allowed the company to review the approach of its program, in particular to improve certain small points that were not unanimously accepted by the beneficiaries. For example, the communication around the program was strengthened to really allow any young entrepreneur in difficulty to benefit from it.
Thus, qualitative studies are real decision-making tools for clients since they allow them to have a very precise and concrete feedback on the market and the clients they wish to target. This kind of study can also be accompanied by a quantitative phase (LINK) which allows to measure certain quantities on the market (for example the number of people between 15 and 26 years old who use an online streaming platform).