Since beginning my career in research, I have started to put into practice the theory which I was taught during my degree. Although practically useless when it comes to the actual research world my textbook knowledge has given me a sturdy platform.
Ethnography isn’t everyone’s idea of a good time, but the method is one of the best ways to gain deeper customer insights. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the method; Ethnography in short is spending a weekend sitting in someone else’s house reporting when, why and how much they ate, drank, bathed, watched TV or used their mobile phone. The process can result in breakthroughs for brands, offering an insight into what people are really like, rather than what they want researchers to think they are like.
Market researcher Ipsos MORI says ethnography allows “deep insight into the contradictory nature of much of human behaviour: the focus is on what people really do versus what they say they do”. In other words, it is about identifying hidden needs – and this is where the real breakthroughs can occur.
The more brands know about people and how the world around them shapes their behaviour, the more we can empathise with them.Thanks to Facebook, Twitter and smartphones, consumers have got used to reporting what they do, when they do it and why. Mobile ethnography is an increasingly popular tool, sometimes known as ‘lifelogging’, with subjects carrying cameras to record events as they happen.
Marketing has traditionally been the home of customer understanding, but through ethnography it can be the driving force behind major breakthroughs. For this reason marketers have a vested interest in knowing what goes on behind their customers’ front doors, and keeping what they discover under lock and key.