Marketing Case Study: Hewlett-Packard's Qualitative & Quantitative Research

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  • 0:03 In-House Market Research
  • 0:57 Types of Market Research
  • 2:47 HP's Market Research…
  • 3:12 The Voice of the…
  • 3:49 Opt-In Market Research…
  • 5:05 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Nick Chandler
In the past, Hewlett-Packard has focused on telling the customer what products and services are available. However, all this has changed. This lesson looks at how changes in approaches to market research at HP have resulted in a customer-driven focus for the entire organization.

In-House Market Research

Hewlett-Packard is a multi-national company offering a variety of digital products for the office and home such as computers, printers, scanners, cameras, workstations, and calculators for business and school. HP recently announced that they are now focusing on consumers who improve their computers frequently and spend more money on games. The question is: How does a company of this size find out about the needs and demands of their consumers?

The answer is that it conducts market research - HP conducts most of its own market research in-house rather than use an agency. Other large companies, like Bank of America and Walmart, also have their own internal market research departments. An agency, on the other hand, means that the organization employs the services of a dedicated market research firm or a marketing agency to carry out market research on their behalf.

Types of Market Research

Market research can be split into two categories: qualitative and quantitative.

Quantitative research is a type of research that usually involves questionnaires or surveys. It involves collecting large amounts of data involving statistics. In this case, people talk about percentages, averages, and other quantities and this is why it has the name quantitative research. The questionnaires are given out to representatives of a particular target market or population, and the results tell us such information as the target market's attitudes, values, behaviors, preferences, etc.

Qualitative research is a type of research that can also discover customer behaviors, values, and preferences, and it can also be used to generate ideas. For example, quantitative research might tell us that when diapers are bought by a consumer, beer is also bought, thanks to records of purchases at supermarkets. With qualitative research, there is an opportunity to find out why this is the case. So, for example, interviews might take place and it turns out that a young father usually goes out for a late-night shop. He gets diapers for the baby and, at the same time, buys a couple of bottles of beer. Qualitative research uses other methods, rather than a questionnaire.

Interviews may take place either in person or over the phone. Focus groups involve interviewing a group of people and discussing their ideas and opinions, either in person or online. Nowadays, social media is also used to monitor the behavior of consumers, for example NetBase or Radian6 are used to monitor a brand or a product category's reputation or what people are currently saying about the product or service. Some qualitative research involves observations with a market research team spending days or even weeks following consumers, with their permission, and making notes about their buying behavior in a diary.

HP's Market Research Information Center

The heart of HP's market research lies in their Market Research Information Center. With a large staff and library, this center can provide background information on industries, markets, and competitors using data from other sources, or so-called secondary data. Primary data concerns data that has been collected directly by HP's internal market research department, one of which is the Voice of the Customer Program.

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