This is a guest post from Adriti Gulati, an Inbound Professor for HubSpot Academy.
After you’ve collected your research on the aspect of the customer experience you want to improve, the next step is to analyze and apply the research.
When analyzing your research, we suggest using a thematic analysis approach. Thematic analysis is a qualitative data analysis method that involves reading through a data set (such as transcripts from in-depth interviews or focus groups) and identifying patterns in meaning across the data to derive themes.
A qualitative data analysis method that involves reading through a data set and identifying patterns in meaning across the data to derive themes.
One of the best parts about a thematic analysis is that it’s flexible for beginner researchers. Those who are just learning how to analyze data will find this approach fairly accessible.
There are six steps to conducting a thematic analysis.
1. Familiarize yourself with the data. Transcribe your interviews. Comb through your surveys and data-capture forms. This is most likely too much work for one person, so make sure you have others who are willing to help. Plus, depending on how much data you have, it’s possible one person might accidentally miss important information.
2. Code. Coding means highlighting sections of the information and coming up with shorthand labels, or codes, to describe the content. For example, let’s look at an excerpt from the interview below, taken from Scribbr.com. Here, our codes are uncertainty, acknowledgment, distrust, and changing terminology. At this stage, it’s important to be thorough: Go through all the data and highlight everything that seems relevant or interesting.
3. Group codes into themes. Once you’ve coded, look through the codes and try to identify themes among them. Themes are broader than codes. Most of the time, several codes will roll up into a single theme. For example, here, the codes of uncertainty, leaving it to the expert, and alternative explanations all roll up to the theme of uncertainty. In this stage, you might find that some of your codes aren’t as relevant as you thought, and some codes might be themes in and of themselves. That’s OK — feel free to adjust your codes as you see fit.
4. Review and revise themes. Ensure your themes are useful and accurate representations of the data. Are you missing anything? Are the themes actually present in the data? Do any themes need to be split up or discarded? Can you change any naming to make the themes work better?
5. Define your themes. Your themes should be so clearly defined that anyone in your company can understand what they mean. For example, in the theme “distrust of experts,” it might be worth further defining “experts.” You may want to reword a theme like this to “distrust of authority” or something else your audience may prefer.
6. Write your narrative. This is the final step to telling the story of your data. Your write-up should include:
Make sure your writing is accessible to your entire company. If you have an internal forum such as a Wiki, consider posting it there.
The last step in wrapping up your research is arguably the most fun: applying your insights. Your data and analysis can have major effects on the future of your company. They will help you form strategies, drive sales, develop products, and improve the customer experience. According to Christina Bailey, author of customer insight strategies, there are six steps that outline how your insights can be used.
1. Understand. Use your analysis to develop a deep understanding of your markets, competitors, and customers, including their future needs, pain points, and behaviors.
2. Develop. Read and reread your thematic analysis write-up. Use that document to develop strategic marketing plans and programs.
3. Tailor. Use your analysis to tailor messages to customer segments. Decide what type of content or offer should be serviced to a particular customer.
4. Prioritize. Figure out what you need to do, what you can delegate, and what can wait. If you need a helpful way to prioritize, use the Eisenhower box. Focus today on things that are important and urgent. Schedule to do things that are important but not urgent. Delegate tasks that are urgent but not important. And finally, forget about the things that are neither important nor urgent.
5. Position conversations. Analyzing your customers’ behaviors will help you get the right messages at the right time through the right channel.
6. Measure. This process isn’t a one-and-done. Measure the results of your marketing efforts to continually improve. For instance, run benchmark studies whenever you implement a change, big or small. Send out NPS surveys quarterly. The only way to convince others is to have numbers to back up your ideas.
By using your analysis to understand, develop, tailor, prioritize, position, and measure, you’re turning your insights into action so you can better acquire, develop, and retain customers.
Need help figuring out what research methods to use to collect valuable customer data? Check out Part 1 of HubSpot’s guest blog!