Using Strategic Quadrants for qualitative data visualization

by | Jan 17, 2023

Which opportunity should we prioritize? Which threat poses the greatest risk? What path should we pursue to provide the highest impact? These are the types of questions that are often answered by a Strategic Quadrant. Also commonly known as a “Competitive Matrix,” an “Ansoff Matrix,” a “2X2 Matrix” or the “4-Quadrant Method,” quadrant analysis is a tool used to organize qualitative or quantitative data and assess it relative to, and against certain criteria (for other examples of our favorite qualitative data analysis frameworks, check out this, this, this, and this). Strategic Quadrants are used to inform decision-making, planning, and prioritization by organizing similar data elements and assessing them against a set of criteria. When used properly, quadrant analysis can inform decisions at every level of a company.

The popularity and evolution of Strategic Quadrants

Leading consultancies such as Gartner, which trademark this analysis as their popular “Magic Quadrant,” have made it an integral tool in their toolbox of competitive analysis frameworks. G2 has taken this a step further by using the data from their reviews to create scores for companies and products that can be placed on their also-trademarked “Grid Reports.” BCG’s “Growth Share Matrix” famously labels products and their performance as “stars,” “question marks,” “cash cows,” or “pets” when supporting clients in understanding where they should be prioritizing efforts.

Uses for Strategic Quadrants

While typically developed manually, there are now several software options available to create Strategic Quadrants, including those offered by Creately. Strategic Quadrants are a versatile tool which can be used across industries and applications but will always be designed in the same way.

Strategic Quadrants consist of two axes which represent conflicting interest or aspects which together will form a table with four cells. The labels attached to the cells and axis will depend on the purpose of the quadrant. The example below shows how this framework could be used to determine which sales tasks a company should prioritize, based on whether these tasks provide impact as compared to the effort required to execute.

Popular uses for Strategic Quadrants include comparing:
·        Cost and value
·        Cost and effort
·        Effort and impact
·        Impact and urgency
·        Competitive opportunities and wins
·        Competitor market presence and product portfolio
However, the uses of a Strategic Quadrant are almost limitless, with a 2×2 Matrix even being able to inform if a 2×2 Matrix should be used, in this humorous example:

Strategic Quadrant best practices

In order to develop trustworthy Strategic Quadrants which draw from reliable data, HelloInfo recommends deploying the following best practices:

  • Avoid bias and confusion by setting clear and specific criteria for your quadrant – A good example of this is G2’s clear Grid Methodology, which aims to make their data clear and democratic
  • Use quantitative data to measure – Using quantifiable data enhances the validity of your analysis model, and reduces opportunities for subjective analysis and bias; when working with qualitative data, “codify” the qualitative insights into categories that allows it to be placed on a quantifiable scale
  • Define what each quadrant means, and the criteria used for placement – The BCG model is a good example of this, and clearly shows what quantification outcomes are
  • Clearly define boundaries between quadrants – On both the X and Y axis of the quadrant
  • Be transparent about where data comes from – Including where data is obtained, and how it is measured

At HelloInfo, we utilize Strategic Quadrant analyses to support our clients when they are evaluating choices ahead. Schedule a meeting with us to discuss how we can support you in navigating decisions.

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