Ethnographic Research: Seeing The Future
If you’re just joining this week’s investigation into the benefits of utilizing ethnography in your marketing research efforts, then you missed our discussions of how to put consumer behavior in context and go beyond focus group boundaries.
Now it’s time to turn our attentions forward and take a look at how ethnographic research helps you see the future. It should come as no surprise that the goal of any successful marketing research project is to gather the kind of valuable data that influences and informs long-term marketing strategies and decisions. The problem is, while focus groups and other forms of traditional marketing research are very good at gathering data from consumers about past decisions and present day opinions, they sometimes fall short when it comes to predicting the future.
That’s where marketing research ethnographies are truly invaluable. If focus groups are the microscope that give you a detailed, close-up view of your target demographic, then ethnographies are the telescopes that help you take a long-range look at social trends, offering a bigger picture of individual consumer behavior in the overall cultural landscape.
Unlike traditional marketing research professionals who ask specific, highly practical questions in a controlled focus group environment, marketing ethnographers visit consumers in their homes, offices and shopping locations to observe and listen in a non-directed way. The goal with ethnographic research is to see people’s behavior on their own terms, providing valuable insights into how consumers might use a new product or service and what kind of impact or meaning it might have on their everyday lives.
Through direct observation of target demographics’ daily lives, companies can fill in the gaps left by consumer buying pattern statistics and customer surveys, providing a more complete picture of buyer behavior. By understanding how people actually live, ethnographic research professionals are able to discover otherwise elusive trends that inform future marketing and development strategies. As a more personal but still data-driven approach, ethnography helps businesses anticipate the continuous change taking place in their market environment, thereby allowing them to make sense of consumer data and adjust their long-term strategies in response.
For more information on how supplementing your focus groups and marketing research projects with ethnography helps you predict the future of your market or industry, click on the button below to contact the experts at Focus Pointe Global.
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