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How to use Ethnography to improve your Business

How to use Ethnography to improve your Business

12th June 2018

Ethnography, have you ever heard of it? Maybe you have but you don’t fully understand what it is. Or maybe you want to know how you could use it to help your business. Any business will have either a product or a service they offer. Before you release it to the public you make sure to research into the target audience by carrying out surveys and running focus groups. While this is all great information, this is how people ‘say’ they are going to use your product/service and not necessarily the reality. Here is where Ethnography comes in to play.

What is Ethnography?

Ethnographers document the actual behaviour of these consumers by observing what they do and the rationale as to why. This attaches valuable insight to the action. Data collected is then analysed in the context of people’s lives including their community, culture and more. When put into a business context you can gain insight and determine patterns in behaviour. Anthropological researchers study consumers in a natural environment for them to receive unmodified results as opposed to receiving information directly via study groups.

How can I utilise this for my business?

But how can this help you to develop your business? It allows you to identify any customer needs you are not yet fulfilling. It can help you to devise a successful marketing strategy, allowing you to target the right people in the right places and in the right way. Not only that but it can also help you to uncover emerging trends putting you ahead of the game.

Imagine if you had a coffee shop in a family-friendly village and you went to open a second coffee shop near the train station in town. Your consumers for each shop would be different and expect different services. The type of customer in the first store would expect a more personalised service is a homely environment. Whereas your second shops type of customer is likely to be a commuter. This time you want a simple menu to make their choice quick and easy with plenty of coffee to go.

By using ethnographic research, you can quickly and accurately understand your customer base. Their needs and wants influenced by their surroundings and other external factors. This research is crucial in taking your business to the next level, and perfect if you’re looking to expand to other areas, cities or even countries.