Ethnographic research is the branch of anthropology that involves trying to understand how people live their lives. Researchers put their efforts to observe and listen to consumers in a no directed way, rather than ask specific and highly practical questions directly to consumers. Through understanding people’s behaviors in consuming, researchers find out how consumers perceive the new product, and how such the new product may impact on their lives. Thanks for insights coming from researchers, marketers are able to identify future trends that inform the company’s future strategies for current and upcoming products. Sometimes, consumers do not know what they are doing and why, which through being acknowledge these gaps, marketers see new opportunities. Specifically , top three reasons why ethnographic research is important to marketers are:
The opportunity to hear your audience in their own words and see them in their own world:
Observation a particular action in a particular environment allows researchers identify habits, ideas and desires of consumers, which are not only providing information, but also give researchers the connection between pieces of information that are gathered. Therefore, researchers gain insights into the way opinions are formed and how they are connected to cultural practices and presuppositions.
There is always a surprise inside:
Sometimes, consumers do not know what they are doing and why. In traditional researches, which researchers ask consumers specific and highly practical questions may not explore the missing information those consumers are not even aware of them. Therefore, observing actions in very natural ways will highlight those missing information that will be a new opportunity to marketers.
Ethnography is multi-tasking tool:
There are different ways to gather information for ethnographic research includes:
• Ethnographic observation
• Semi-structured interviews
• In-depth interviews
• Participant journals
Many researchers apply a combination of above methods. For example, researchers may record audio and video of semi-structured interviews, in-depth interviews while keeping a field journal of descriptions, interpretations, evaluations, pictures and cultural artifacts. Researchers will have a mixture of data collection methods and records to explore wealth of different information.
Ethnographic research may be useful for developing communication and marketing strategies, informing organizational policies, designing products and web content. It can be used to inform ad, PR and social campaign. It supports marketers in understanding how messages chain out and are discussed in a community, and therefore affect the brand. Some particular situation that marketers should perform an ethnographic market research:
• To uncover new product or packaging opportunities
• To shape advertising or communication strategy
• To supplement other qualitative or quantitative research
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Compiled by AMR Group (Marketing Research in Vietnam-Nghien Cuu Thi Truong Viet Nam) on 2014
Source: Harvard Business Review, Doyle Research and Forsmashgroup
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