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Merging Quant+Qual Research to Reframe our Understanding of Modern Families

It’s no secret that families have changed drastically over the last few decades, including changing demographics, family composition and Millennials rising into the ranks of parenthood. What is not well understood is how these enormous changes will affect modern family consumer habits: how families choose brands and how product marketers should be communicating with them.

FocusVision, The Family Room LLC and Lightspeed GMI collaborated on a research project to understand the drivers and dynamics of the modern family. The objective was to understand how consumer decision making occurred within today’s families.

What we wanted to discover

  • How do modern families make consumer decisions?
  • What does the modern family look like?
  • What generational differences exist between Millennials and Gen X?
  • What cultural differences exist between
  • Hispanic, African American and the general population?

Fusion of methodology

Capturing the narrative and interplay of today’s family required a novel approach to research, as a complex web of interaction takes place between parent and child when making purchase decisions. FocusVision’s quant+qual research technology solutions were uniquely positioned to fuse the robust quantitative data with the rich insights from qualitative research. This approach provided familes with the right tools for expression and engaged them in a natural way by following them in their own environments.

Getting a full family view required a rigorous sample frame, provided by Lightspeed GMI. It consisted of core family groups from the Millennial and Gen X generations, with a mixture of general population, Hispanic and African American family groups.

Quantitative outreach

FocusVision’s Decipher survey software platform started off the project with a 10-minute survey. This enabled the fusion of sophisticated, responsive survey design with the ability to enable respondents to submit video open ends via a webcam or mobile video camera. The online survey served as a recruiting ground for the qualitative phase, in which the video testimonials helped find articulate, engaged participants and interesting insights for follow up.

The screened individuals chosen to move on then participated in the second phase research, centered on a series of passion points or themes. This portion of the study was run through FocusVision’s digital qual platform, Revelation, where participants engaged in exercises such as recording video testimonials, letter writing, photo uploads and metaphor picture choice to further bring consumer experiences to life.

“When we set out to do this study, we wanted to provide entire families with the tools to tell us how they think, feel and act in the moment. With the FocusVision platform we were able to engage multiple family members in their own environment.”

George Carey – Founder and CEO of The Family Room

Delivering quantitative and qualitative results

Both quantitative and qualitative data were uniquely situated to discover, drive and communicate new insights into the realities of modern families. For example, the study found that today’s families have evolved from a top-down hierarchy, where the mom is the gatekeeper of all decisions, to a more complex web of collaborative decision-making among family members. In fact, the study found that a whopping 54 percent of Millennial parents consider their child to be one of their best friends, making this familial group look more like peers than parental authority.

While many more interesting statistics were discovered, there is one theme in common: Millennial families are going to change the way marketers work. This could include an approach to new product development that finds common ground among the whole family, not just mom. From a marketing and branding standpoint, target messaging should align with the modern family’s new decision-making dynamics. This study proves that actionable insights can be found when quantitative and qualitative techniques don’t reside in silos, but simultaneously work together to uncover new insights.

54% of Millenial parents consider their child to be one of their best friends.

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