Market Researchers Resources The 2018 Guide to Qualitative Research Methods

Ethnographic Market Research

Watch and Learn from Real Consumer Behavior!

What is it?

Ethnographic market research allows you to observe consumer behaviors in the environments where they occur.  This type of research can take place in homes, at stores, in cars, on the beach…anywhere!

What are the benefits?

Learn by seeing, listening, experiencing: See how consumers REALLY shop the aisle where your product is displayed, load cargo into their vehicles, or send a text message with a wireless phone. Uncover latent behaviors and attitudes: Sometimes people are unaware of what they are doing and why.  For instance, they may wash their face twice: once to remove makeup, and a second time to “really get their skin clean.” Bring to light differences between what people say and do (or report doing):  Moms may say they only feed their kids healthy snacks, but their pantry reveals otherwise. Verify (or negate) people’s memories: We all have a tendency to forget small but valuable pieces of information. Give your team a jolt of reality: This is how real people act in real life, not on paper or behind a one-way mirror.  They may never turn your box over to read the back panel.

When should you consider it?

  • To uncover new product or packaging opportunities
  • To shape advertising or communication strategy
  • To supplement other qualitative (or quantitative) research

Before You Jump In…

Remember that because the team must travel to various locations to conduct this research, it tends to be more time- consuming and costly than traditional qualitative market research.  For greater efficiency, consider using ethnographic market research as one piece of a total research solution.

“I have used Doyle Research on numerous occasions, and have found the team to be knowledgeable, creative in recommending solutions for qualitative that works, able to turn on a dime when we needed it. We’ve had solid results and some highly insightful analysis that opened business partner eyes to some things they didn’t know but needed to.”

Consumer Insights | DeVry University

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