Archive for the ‘Ethnographic Research’ Category

Kicking the Tires: The Automotive Path to Purchase

Posted on: May 14th, 2015 by doyle

From the desk of Alice Morgan

What We Did


In the Summer of 2014, Doyle Research and DrivingSales, an automotive dealership consulting and training company, conducted a comprehensive research program to diagnose the automotive path to purchase and enhance the dealership experience.   We used cutting-edge GPS technology to intercept auto shoppers, at the dealership, to get authentic in the moment insights.   In addition, video diaries, ethnographies, dealership shopalongs and webcam interviews were all utilized to uncover the pivotal dealership communication touchpoints at each stage of the buying process.   An online quantitative survey was then conducted with 1,300 new vehicle purchasers.

What We Found

Many new vehicle shoppers find the car-purchasing experience stressful and unpleasant. Over half indicated they would buy new cars more frequently if it weren’t such a difficult, intimidating and unpleasant process.

Game Changers

Dealerships have gotten slightly better over the years. The problem is, other verticals have gotten substantially better. Other categories provide unfiltered reviews, pricing transparency and a low-pressure retail environment. Car dealerships don’t.

Poor Dealership Websites

They’re cluttered, confusing, hard to navigate, and shoppers don’t trust the information provided. Over half of new car shoppers don’t visit dealership websites at all. Shoppers rely on third party sites instead.

Outdated Communication Practices

Nowadays people don’t want to talk to their nearest and dearest, let alone to a car salesperson. Dealership contact forms requiring phone numbers and sales strategies emphasizing personal contact backfire, particularly among Millennials.

Too Little, Too Late

The result of all these barriers is that car shoppers avoid interacting with the dealership until very late in the process. When they do visit they often have a poor experience with a salesperson they just met and don’t trust.

Ripe for Disruption

The system is broken due to lack of trust and changed expectations. Car dealerships need to rethink engagement, provide greater transparency, and forge connections with new car shoppers earlier in the process. Old school car dealerships are ripe for disruption. If they don’t change to meet the needs of today’s car shoppers, they will be replaced.

Want to learn more? Doyle is presenting this research next month at IIeX in Atlanta. Hope to see you there!


Fire the Moderator!

Posted on: November 5th, 2014 by doyle

Why You Don’t “have to be there”. Tech-Driven Self-Ethnography

From the desk of Alice Morganalice and hugh car shopping

The dirty little secret of ethnographic qualitative research is that the moderator’s presence in any kind of in-home, onsite or shopalong situation causes bias. Think about it: if you were shopping with a moderator, would you really put all those Pop-Tarts in the shopping cart? Would you buy cigarettes – or feminine hygiene purchases, for that matter? As much as moderators try to downplay their presence, sometimes just being there gums up the works.

Enter the smartphone. Or any other kind of video-enabled technology, for that matter.   We at Doyle Research are all about asking respondents to, well, respond. Using technology. Away from us. By using their smartphone to tell us how a new product looks on the shelf at the grocery store. By recording a webcam video at home when they embark on a home improvement project using a new caulk. By taking a picture of the car they are considering on the dealership lot.

After these experiences have occurred, then we moderate. We follow-up and ask respondents all about the experience, their reactions, the whole shebang. But only after the initial moment of experience has been captured. In a far more authentic manner than if we had been there.

You don’t have to be there. You just have to capture what happens. And then figure out what it all means.

If you’d like to know more about this topic, Doyle Research will be presenting at The Quirk’s Event on February 23-24, 2015 in Brooklyn, NY.  We hope to see you there!

Craft Qualitative: My Weekend with Passionate Consumers at the Great Taste of the Midwest Brewing Festival

Posted on: August 20th, 2014 by doyle

Great TasteFrom the desk of Natanya Rubin

Every year, on the second weekend in August, six thousand beer enthusiasts gather in Madison, WI, to partake in the Great Taste of the Midwest Brewing Festival (fondly referred to as GTMW).  With over 100 breweries represented, and over 600 beers available to taste, GTMW is one of the premier craft brewing festivals in the country, and for the last eight years, I’ve been lucky enough to attend.

What brings me back year after year?  It’s the opportunity to be among others who share my deep passion for this product—both creating and consuming.  Every year, I get a peek at the emerging trends in craft brewing, trends that are often eventually mirrored in the greater marketplace.

What was notable on tap this year?

  • Some things don’t change.  The perennial darlings of the craft beer consumer—rich barrel aged stouts and ales, bold IPAs, and taste-bud challenging sour and wild beers— were all very much in evidence.  A few of my favorites this year included the Barrel Aged Wolpertinger from Urban Chestnut Brewing Co. and New Holland Brewing’s new wild ale, Incorrigible.
  •  Sweet fruit beers are rapidly gaining popularity.  While some, like the Pure Michigan Cherry Lager from Kuhnhenn Brewing, were light and easy-drinking, others, like the Imperial Peaches and Crème from Short’s Brewing, were so decadent and sweet that they immediately had me thinking of an after dinner drink, as a replacement for port or other dessert wines.
  • Ciders are the new belle of the craft brewing ball.   Cider has been a growing trend in craft brewing for a while now.  For example, The Northman, Chicago’s first bar devoted entirely to ciders, with a menu created especially to pair with what’s on tap, will open this fall.  But it was striking to see the explosion of cider options featured at a fest that has traditionally been strongly beer focused.
  • There was also a discernable uptick in spicy beers, utilizing every flavor profile from mild jalapenos to incendiary ghost peppers.

I was happy to spend some time with one of the fest organizers (GTMW is run by the Madison Homebrewers and Tasters Guild), who was conducting in-the-moment qualitative research about the future of the fest.  GTMW’s tremendous success and popularity has naturally led to questions about expansion.  Some of his questions focused on the idea of adding even more breweries to the already massive number represented each year.  Would it make the fest feel too crowded and unmanageable?  Did it feel like they were outgrowing their location?  How could they maintain the intimate vibe that is so important to the organizers and attendees while opening the doors to more participants?

Success is a good problem to have, but I’m glad the organizers are asking questions aimed at preserving what makes GTMW so special, while building for the future.  It makes me confident that I can look forward to many more years of learning, exploring, and of course, tasting!  Cheers!

IHUTnographies: Blurred lines without the twerking

Posted on: March 21st, 2014 by doyle

From the desk of Chris Efken

When I worked on the quant side of the business, I often conducted IHUTs that left me with more questions than answers. Perhaps it was my inner two-year-old voice reverting to the days of asking “Why? Why? Why?” of every key measurable that crossed my path. Perhaps it was my deep-seated yearning to become a qualitative researcher! Or, maybe it was simply that the data from standard structured quantitative questions didn’t yield the insights desired to truly help my marketing partners in enhancing and modifying a soon-to-launch product. All too often, I found myself needing an additional phase of research.

To address this need, the researchers at Doyle developed IHUTnographies. We blurred the lines of traditional quantitative IHUTs with ethnographic and observational research to help our clients maximize the learnings needed to improve products, packaging, and shelf placement. IHUTnographies are observational product-usage interviews, using webcams and/or video uploads, that allow us to tease out the insights needed to optimize products. By observing the IHUTs, we can…


          • See how the product is actually being used to identify whether the directions are clear, and that the product performs as expected
          • Identify and explore product problems and how consumers create work-around solutions to aid in product refinement and optimization
          • Capture the verbal and non-verbal reaction to the product. By seeing the actual reaction to the product and not simply collecting the reported reaction, clients can better gauge the intensity or degree to which an issue is a true barrier to purchase.

IHUTnographies are one way we have blurred the quant/qual lines. I challenge my clients and colleagues to share ways in which you too have methodologically blurred the lines (with or without twerking).

Make Your Qualitative Market Research New Year Resolutions!

Posted on: December 2nd, 2013 by doyle

From the desk of Jo-Ann Ryan

As 2013 is nearing an end, and 2014 is just around the corner, it’s not too early to make your qualitative market research resolutions for next year.  Doyle Research can assist you with setting priorities and getting the most bang for your buck.  And maybe in the New Year, it’s time to try some new methods.  Here are some options to consider:

Online Qualitative Research

If you want to explore a category; discuss a concept, product, or communications; surface associated issues; and/or bring people of different geographies together, online qualitative research is a great option.  Depending on your objectives and audience, we would recommend a real-time method (e.g., online focus groups, mini-groups, dyads, triads, decision pairs, individual depth interviews) or an asynchronous method (bulletin boards, online immersion, video diaries).

Mobile Qualitative Research

If you’d like to capture your customer’s stream of consciousness “in the moment” perceptions or reactions during a relevant behavior (e.g., making a purchase decision at a store, choosing a meal at a restaurant, etc.), then mobile qualitative may fit the bill.  We can have customers call in or text their reactions as well as snap some photos or create brief videos.

Ethnographic Qualitative Research

If you’d like to capture the customer experience in the “natural” environment during or after s/he’s making decisions (e.g., and have a researcher observe and probe on the experience in real time), ethnographic/observational research can provide invaluable insights.  Such research could take place in-home (e.g., applying cosmetics, doing laundry, cooking meals), in-store (e.g., observe decision making and/or to gain feedback on categories, products, displays, packaging, bundling, retailer service), or on-site (e.g., organizing a desk at the office, cleaning the car).

QuickQual: Online Qualitative Research

This method is a quick and affordable text-based online tool that can provide you with early/directional inputs for the concept development and refinement process (e.g., for products, packaging, communications, etc.), and to ensure language accurately reflects the concept.  This method offers a same-day study kick-off, immediate recruitment of high-incidence respondents and 48 hours to results.

MineSights: Qualitative Meta Analysis

Take another look at market research that’s been conducted throughout your organization in 2013 or before — with a new perspective or purpose.  If you don’t have the time or you want a fresh projective, then consider Doyle’s MineSights.  We not only will provide new insights but also identify gaps of knowledge for future research initiatives.

We can make it happen

Doyle Research can help you to keep your research resolutions!  We have 17 proven qualitative market research methods and counting that will enable us to effectively address any research needs that you have.