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Morgan Molnar
Director of Product Marketing, Global Insights Solutions @ Momentive at Momentive (SurveyMonkey) | Formerly SurveyMonkey, NielsenMarch 21

Qualitative research is purely a category of research methods, and can be used for a variety of business needs / research goals. Qualitative "qual" research methods are can include observation, ethnography, 1:1 interviews, focus groups, and more. Qual research typically deals with unstructured data like behaviors, audio, text, imagery, videos, etc unlike quantitative research that deals with measureable quantities (i.e. statistics; numbers) like survey data, transactional data, etc.

UX research will likely leverage several qualitiative methods to uncover the underlying motivations, instincts, and preferences along a product purchase cycle (from awareness/discoverability, exploration, intent, conversion, usage, and repeat). For software companies, examples of UX research projects could include exploratory research to understand buyer mental models when making purchases or usability studies to see how users will interact with screens and flows within your product.

At Momentive, we have UX researchers that support both product and marketing teams to ensure we have intuitive, delightful user experiences across our logged-out websites and logged-in product. Product marketing may be involved in a variety of these projects (both as a contributor and as a consumer of the insights).

Other ways I use qualitative research as a product marketer include developing buyer personas, testing messaging or product names, getting feedback on new pricing models / packages, gathering perspectives for thought leadership, getting feedback on a new pitch, and more.

Ali (Wiezbowski) Jayson
VP Marketing at Matterport | Formerly Peloton, Uber, Microsoft, EntrepreneurJune 18

I absolutely love working with UXR teams. And I completely understand the reason for the question. The truth is, yes it can be confusing. Fundamentally, I do think they share a macro goal -- which is to understand humans, their motivations, etc. But the ways in which we evaluate these can be slightly different. 

The best UXR teams I've worked with can also present different UI/UX/Product Design experiences and gauge a customers response to that design. In my experience, thats an incredibly valuable speciality, but also different from Product Marketing. Product Marketing is meant to spread across channels and think about human motivations - anticipate their neeeds & behaviors, but UI/UX design is not a speciality that I've seen from most PMMs. 

So UXR teams can provide incredible insight to PM & PMM, and PMM can help connect the dots with other trends / insights they're seeing across other channels. This makes UXR and PMM a critical alliance and in my view, a very complimentary one in the pursuit of building amazing, customer centric and beloved products.

Jennifer Kuvlesky
Director of Product Marketing at Snow Software November 13

In my experience, the main difference between UX and product marketing qualatative research is that UX teams are generally trying to understand user behavior for a specific product or feature where product marketers are trying to understand frustrations, motivations, problems, buying dynamics, etc. for both users and buyers for a speciifc product area or solution.

PMM, UX and PM teams could do a better job of collaborating as all teams need to have a shared understanding of 

  • the user personas, persona problems, frustrations and priorities
  • user value, buyer value and willingness to pay

A good resource I've been exposed to on the topic of product research is Product Discovery, by Martin Christensen and Marcus Castenfors. There are some good frameworks outlined in this book. 

Sherrie Nguyen (she/her)
Director of Product Marketing at Indeed July 26

I work with market researchers to understand higher level problems, use cases, personas, customer journeys, brand consideration, preference, trust, etc. for my company and product as a whole. Buyers/users don't need to have actually used our product but should be a target persona or have a use case/problem relevant to our product.

I work with UX research to understand specific user feedback of the product itself (whether it's a prototype of a new product/feature or observing them click through the actual product). For the latter, they are often a customer or previous user with enough experience to talk about the product/experience in detail. These two groups have very different goals and metrics.

Alex Chahin
VP of Marketing at Titan | Formerly Lyft, Hims & Hers, American ExpressAugust 19

Like many things, this can vary depending on your company. In some places, all research is unified under one leader, in one department. Other places, consumer insights may sit in one department (like Marketing) and UX research may sit in another (like Design or Product).

With that in mind, there's definitely a venn diagram in terms of what these buckets cover. UXR often seeks to answer questions about how to best design an experience or interface for customers, but to best do so, it may be most efficient to ask general questions about attitudes and usage upfront. Consumer insights, on the other hand, often seeks to understand audience and market validation questions without necessarily putting UI stimuli or prototypes in front of customers.

That said, as a product marketer, your goal should be clear regardless of where the research is coming from: You should help stakeholders understand which insights approach "truth" of the audience and market the best. People have a tendency to latch onto anything coming out of research as an "insight" with the same weight, but we need to help our counterparts understand which ones are actionable (i.e., because of sample size, because of frequency it comes up, etc.) and which ones are distractions.

Greg Hollander
VP of GTM & Strategy at Novi December 21

The best way I’ve learned to think about it is that as Product Marketers you should be focused on researching the buyer, whereas UX researchers are focused on the User.  Sometimes this overlaps and results in different questions on the same content - for example, we might show the same landing page or in-product modal but they ask about whether the user found the information they needed, and I ask about how they interpreted names or messages.  That’s great, and creates a strong partnership.  Other times it takes us in totally different directions.  Regardless of the format (survey, observation, interview, etc) I try to focus my product marketing research on what drives perception and behavioral change, while our UX folks are focused on whether users can find the information they need and get to an intended action.

Madison Leonard 🕶
Product Marketing & Growth Advisor at | Formerly ClickUp, Vanta, DreamWorks AnimationJanuary 17

Yes I see them as completely different! UX research is more around the product usage. You're likely guiding the user through a prototype, MVP, or new feature and watching how they figure stuff out on their own. All your findings are around product usage and adoption. 

However, with customer research for product marketing your end goal is usually centered around building personas, crafting GTM strategy, and sharing the voice of the customer with product and sales teams!