Interviews are important in the data gathering process because everyone sees the world differently. Yet, some common threads bind us together into distinct groups. These groups can be categorized into consumer segments. Segment groups contain people with a common worldview that can be used to determine what drives their decisions and predict future behavior. The in-depth interview method helps researchers discover consumer preferences.
What to do when we know that we don’t know...
When we know there are things we don’t know, we need a discovery process. We call this process, “Qualitative Research Methods.” The in-depth interview method is an example of a qualitative research approach.
Above all, the in-depth research interview process begins with screening and recruiting. Think about the groups you want to understand and how you can clearly define them. For instance:
- Are they over or under a particular age?
- Do they live in a particular region?
- Do their career histories classify them into meaningful groups?
Next, define criteria in a way that will provide actionable insights.
- Are you trying to pinpoint a higher-performing media buy?
- Should you focus your tour on a specific geographic region?
Define your screening criteria in a way that the results will provide clear direction for effective action.
How to know what we didn’t know...
The in-depth interview method is a structured conversation with individuals or groups of individuals (eight to twelve per group is fine) to learn how they consider, relate to, and engage with the subject of interest. For example:
- How has their perception changed from the time they first engaged?
- How has their perception changed over the span of their experience?
- Why do they believe their perception changed?
When we know what we didn’t know...
Following the in-depth interview process, you have a bunch of loosely organized information that describes the perspectives and attitudes of each group. Organize this information for validation and its comparative importance relative to desired outcomes. The validation process is accomplished through Quantitative Research Methods.