Unlike quantitative marketing goals that fixate on measurable elements of marketing, such as total ads placed in given markets, qualitative marketing objectives focus on intangible elements that influence the relationship between consumers and products, brands or businesses. While more difficult to assess, qualitative marketing goals often play a key role in capturing and retaining market share.


Brand building attempts to imbue a product or business with a particular personality or promise that consumers continue to associate with it. Southwest Airlines, for example, brands itself as the low-cost air travel provider. In essence, the branding makes a promise that the business must deliver, which would hinder any attempt by the airline to offer premium service instead. In the end, though, a brand exists in the minds of consumers, which makes it difficult to measure with clarity. When a business does manage to establish a brand, however, it can draw in consumers that want to live a particular lifestyle or support particular ideals.


Although related to the concept of branding, a business image speaks to different concerns. Image encompasses how consumers think or feel about the way your company deals with a range of issues that only indirectly relate to a product or service, such as worker safety, the environment and even philanthropy. For example, a customer may think well of a particular brand of shoes based on durability and style, but perceive the company that makes the shoes in a negative way because it employs child labor overseas. Image also includes how stakeholders, such as vendors, view the business, with overall performance or loyalty as core concerns. Qualitative marketing attempts to reinforce positive image or repair a damaged image in conjunction with public relations efforts.


Qualitative marketing aims to impart awareness to consumers. Awareness, within the context of marketing, refers to the consumer ability to remember or recall a specific product or a specific brand name. Businesses employ awareness advertising and marketing campaigns to inform potential customers about the existence of new products and services and to teach consumers how a new product or service can play a role in their lives.


Branding efforts, image building and awareness often start in marketing departments or with marketing firms a business employs, but most qualitative marketing goals depend heavily on the entire business to succeed. Employees need instruction on the brand, image and values a business intends to project in order to communicate those intangibles to costumers and potential customers. Informed employees can function as brand and product advocates, which reinforce awareness efforts with word of mouth.