Tuesday, September 30, 2008

More on Ethnography at P&G ...

Kyle talked about P&G coming to campus this past week. I wanted to add some more on the session that they did last Friday.

The focus of their presentation was on ethnography and how as brand managers we can use this type of research to develop, grow and evolve brands. They explained the background of ethnographic research and its role in marketing research; discussed 'applied' ethnographic research; and provided tips on best practices for conducting ethnographic research.

Very interesting stuff, with a number of great take-aways, including:

  • Ethnography is a type of cultural anthropology -- extending traditional demographic and consumer behavioral insights and rounding out the perspective on consumer insights that drive product innovation and marketing.
  • It is rooted in being an observational marketing-research activity - having the consumer act as (s)he normally does without biasing the results.
  • One of the keys to good ethnographic research is to capture the consumer 'in his/her words.' Some of the ways brand/research people do this is through video and other ways of recording the consumer's verbatim as it was said.
  • A critical tool for good ethnographic research is the 'laddering' questioning technique.

As Kyle mentioned, P&G also related ethnographic research to shopper marketing -- discussing implications for the 'first moment of truth' -- i.e., the decision-moment consumers face in store. They also discussed P&G's strategy for evaluating and building in-store marketing strategies -- their 'stop, hold, close' model.

"Knowing what drives initiatives at first moment of truth helps us build a shopper profile," commented CBPM alumna Carrie Rathod.

Finally, we went out in the field and participated in a live business case project for Pantene shampoo -- 'riding along' with consumers recruited by a marketing research company as they shop and discussing with them their purchasing patterns.

For those who attended the session, what did you think about ethnography as a marketing-research tool? Any comments on actually doing this out in the field? Please share your thoughts.


At Tue Sep 30, 03:31:00 PM CDT, Blogger Gregory said...

I felt like it was a good introduction to the concept. Without being intimately familiar with the hair care category, at times I found my questions a bit disjointed.

With more practice and more comfort level with the product (and the objectives behind the research), ethnography/shop-a-long is a great supplement to survey and/or sales data.

It lets you probe a bit as to how a consumer perceives each brand, and why.


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