Three little words: A pragmatic qualitative method to understand modern markets

Relja, Ruffin ORCID: 0000-0001-9569-6247, Ward, Philippa ORCID: 0000-0002-4971-8908 and Zhao, Anita Lifen (2023) Three little words: A pragmatic qualitative method to understand modern markets. International Journal of Market Research. doi:10.1177/14707853231219927 (In Press)

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This paper explores a rapid and low-intensity qualitative method that yields deep and rich insights into Generation Z and Millennials, who constitute the largest consumer group in history. This group favours frictionless digital solutions and their engagement with ‘elaborate’ qualitative techniques is unlikely, requiring researchers to marshal efficient technology-facilitated methods that render comparable insight. We assess the capacity of a ‘simple’ projective technique – online word association, accompanied by a few supporting questions – to offer as fine-grained insight into this consumer group against a more involved story stem completion method. The UK buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) context provides a complex novel market for this examination. Results suggest strong conceptual interconnection between the word association and the story stem completion task. Word associations generated similar resonance and tonality to that of the story stem but in a more compact manner, which liberates researchers and participants alike. The word association task focuses and delineates attention on a narrower set of words, not often done in the context of more traditional qualitative techniques, including story stem completion. Young consumers’ vocabularies reveal their most salient perceptions of the phenomenon. The word association task also facilitates Generation Z and Millennials’ active and positive online engagement, removing resistance and withdrawal from the research. This improves marketing response through immediacy, relevancy, and potency.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Additional Information: Evaluation of research methods; Qualitative research; Projective techniques; Word association; Story stem completion; Buy-now-pay-later; Generation Z; Millennials
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5001 Business > HF5410 Marketing
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Business, Computing and Social Sciences
Research Priority Areas: Applied Business & Technology
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 01 Dec 2023 13:54
Last Modified: 07 May 2024 13:59

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