Ethnography is powerful form of market research

In a recent article at the Jakarta Post, Amalia E. Maulana looks at what role he plays as a market research and an ethnographer. He states the goal for ethnographic research is to capture the telling moments that reveal what consumers actually do with products, rather than what they say they do.


Tasks for ethnographers when researching a certain subject should be:

  • consumers’ lives in dealing with products; to look closely at their experiences with the products
  • to learn intensively about the product’s role in its original setting
  • to reveal what is in the consumers’ mind from the very beginning
  • when they first decide they need a product until when they finally buy and use the product.

The goal of the ethnographer should be to connect the lines between what researchers observed in a setting and what really goes on when customers are using products within their homes. According to Manulala, ethnography can be used to fill the gaps in between what customers are receiving from a product and what new uses would be of a value to them. Do you use ethnography when conducting your market research? If so, what benefits have you seen that have helped you improve your products?