Unveiling the Power of Qualitative Research in Life Science Marketing

By Jordan Eller

qualitative research in life science marketing

In the dynamic realm of B2B life science marketing, feedback is the compass guiding effective strategies.

While measuring the byproducts of marketing actions is a common approach, the intricacies of this sector pose challenges. Low transaction volumes and the intertwined roles of marketing and sales make it arduous to establish a direct link between specific initiatives and increased sales.

Conversions aren’t everything

Faced with this challenge, companies often shift their focus to “conversions” higher up the sales funnel—metrics like email open rates, direct mail engagement, and landing page visits. However, this approach assumes the existence of implemented campaigns. What if you seek feedback before implementation? This is where qualitative research becomes indispensable.

David Nerz, President of MLN Market Research, emphasizes that the purpose of research is to get answers. Qualitative research, he asserts, is a powerful tool in areas such as new product development, brand perception, advertising, and habit dynamics. It provides a visceral understanding of the market, offering insightful answers to inform decisions.

However, qualitative research has its limitations. It may not be suitable for tasks like determining market size or estimating sales figures. Knowing when and how to employ different research methods is crucial.

The success of qualitative research hinges on several factors. Clear research goals are essential to guide the project, and David Nerz advises, “Don’t ask if you aren’t going to act.” The timing of research efforts matters, with regular, disciplined research allowing for meaningful comparisons over time.

Selecting the right respondents will make all the difference

Recruitment of the right respondents is the lifeblood of research. Identifying and reaching decision-makers in the life sciences can be challenging but is crucial for obtaining relevant insights. Cutting corners in recruitment can lead to skewed data, emphasizing the garbage in, garbage out principle.

The best responses are unbiased responses

The wording of questions is a critical factor in obtaining accurate and unbiased responses. Attention to detail in the formulation of questions helps prevent misinterpretations and positional bias. Marketing messages must meet criteria of importance, believability, and compellingness, making these aspects vital in research inquiries.

The active participation of the management team is vital throughout the research process, from setting objectives to involvement in focus groups. Research efforts must respect the answers gathered, even if they challenge preconceived notions. Accepting “bad results” is crucial for the integrity of the research process.

In conclusion, while measurement remains a valuable feedback mechanism, qualitative research emerges as a cornerstone for life science marketing initiatives. By understanding its strengths, limitations, and the factors influencing success, companies can unlock the true potential of qualitative research in navigating the complexities of the life science marketing landscape.

If you’re looking for an experienced partner to help leverage your research insights into impactful marketing strategies, reach out to the experts at Forma today.

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