Hortense MBUMBA: “qualitative researches aim at understanding consumers’ deeper motivations”


Hortense MBUMBA holds the position of Project Manager within Target SARL, a market research agency based at Kinshasa since 2011. Amongst tasks under her responsibilities, she is also managing two kinds of researches: quantitative as well as qualitative researches. For readers of target-sarl.cd, Hortense MBUMBA accepted to give an overview of qualitative researches, their objectives as well as their use in the field of market researches. Interview

When exactly should a client ask for a qualitative research or the agency might recommend it to him?

It is when a client needs to understand consumers’ deeper motivations and/or would like to identify the main dimensions of an issue within the activity sector which holds his interests… since its creation in 2011, Target is achieving five kinds of qualitative researches: i.e.: focus groups, in-depth interviews (IDIs), ethnographies (ethnos), intercepts and immersions.

Briefly, what is the aim of each kind of research that you’ve just mentioned? 

Focus group aim a gathering in a room, a group of consumers (about 6 to 10 persons) meeting a given profile in order to discuss on specific topics (for instance consumption of spirits by middle classes in DR Congo). We are banking on the group dynamic during discussions for understanding consumers’ deeper motivations regarding the market.

In-depth interviews (IDIs) Individual interview aim at talking face-to-face with a consumer in order to understand his/her needs and personal motivations (for instance reasons of choosing a bank.) There are more details on subjects to address. Note that IDIs can also be proposed for collection of points of views from people that we can’t gather in a focus group (for instance companies’ C.E.O.)

Ethnos aim at moving to the respondent home and discussing with him/her on his/her behaviors related to consumption. Ethnos allow analyzing consumers, lifestyles as well as behaviors of consumers in order to describe a market segment, for instance use of internet by young people.

Intercepts consist in intercepting people in the street/while coming out of a shop in order to ask briefly them about their point of view on a given topic (for instance criteria for choosing a specific beauty milk or perfume). Intercepts are anonymous and include a maximum of 5 questions for 5 to 10 minutes at the most.

Observations consist in carefully following consumers’ behavior on the market without pushing them to changes, for instance observing consumers of beer in a bar.

Immersions consist in smartly integrating a consumers’ environment in order to withdraw some information on their behaviors and motivations. The fact of being mingled with supporters of soccer team to understand advertisement communication impact in a stadium should be considered as a form of immersion.        

What technics of data collection are you using for qualitative researches?

Besides observation, any other kinds of researches use interview that might be face-to-face (IDIs, ethnos) or in group (focus groups, immersions). Questionnaires are not always direct, most of time projective technics are used in order to better collect information, by especially asking consumers to try to figure out a brand of car as if it were a human being and describe it in terms of age, sex, dating … with the purpose of highlighting strengths and weaknesses of the considered brand.   

What are your criteria for recruiting respondents for a qualitative research?

Recruitment of respondents mainly depends on the target aimed for the research. If the need is to interview users of mobile phone, we shall then focus on this specific target. Target Agency generally develops a data sheet of quota and recruitment to be used as guide for respondents’ selection. However, let’s note that in line with international standards of market researches (ESOMAR) professionals of marketing and communication as well as people working or holding close relatives in a company operating in market research field, are not eligible for participating in market researches in order to avoid hedging results either due to the fact that they have access from their profession to information that other ordinary consumers don’t (journalist, marketing agent, workers in companies), or due to the fact that they can be biased with their responses as well as judgments (supporting some brands or products of the company in which their relatives work by undermining the competitor). 

What are you especially doing while conducting a qualitative research to get the best information from every respondent?

We make sure to put respondents at ease by telling them that there are no right or wrong answers (we only need their opinion), besides we also ensure them on the confidentiality as regards collected information and their identities (by no means their names shall be mentioned anywhere and they shall never be contacted by a company based on their statements that they would issue during an interview.) We also tell them that they have got right to initiate a legal action against Target in the event of none compliance with confidentiality as well as anonymity.

How a qualitative research data analysis is being carried out? Do you favor some data over others?

We do have a team of specialist analysts in charge of reading notes of interviews for taking tendencies as regards every addressed issue. With the moderator, they make the reporting of research to be submitted to the customer. Target is working in transparency and impartiality. We are not biased towards some data analysis, we present information such as presented based on consumers’ point of views. Further, at any time, all elements used as supporting documents for reporting (audio/video files as well as notes) can be put at the disposal of any client as he/she requires.  

Tuesday, July 21, 2015 - 14:09