From the Back Cover
Makers of consumer goods—from shampoo to ice cream, from toothbrushes to plastic storage bags, from home comupters to lawn mowers—want to know how their products are really used by buyers. For example, how many dollops of styling mousse does the average user put in her hair to achieve a satisfactory hold? What constitutes a fresh smelling load of laundry? How does a pot full of spaghetti noodles need to look, feel, and smell in order for the average consumer to consider it cooked? Beyond test kitchens, focus group studies, and surveys, few qualitative research techniques have allowed marketers and manufacturers to gain a profound understanding of how consumers truly use a product once they get it home from the store. Enter observational research (also known as ethnography), an increasingly popular marketing research technique. In a marketing context, ethnography or "descriptive anthropology" is the study of consumer behaviors. It is about observing and analyzing how consumers respond to a product or service in their own environments based upon their cultural values and relationships. Observational researchers study how people use and react to products or services in their own homes. The results of such studies often reveal surprising insights into consumer behaviors and preferences. This information then allows companies to tailor their advertising and marketing efforts to meet the often unspoken but widely observed needs of their targeted consumers. The Observational Research Handbook
explores the burgeoning qualitative marketing research technique of ethnography and is the most comprehensive professional reference available on the subject. Directed to marketing and advertising professionals, as well as to market researchers and manufacturers of consumer products, the book explains what observational research is, what it can add to a consumer marketing effort, and how an ethnographic marketing study is conducted. It includes insights on setting study objectives, selecting the appropriate research method, defining the parameters of a study, creating interview scripts, applying specific practices and tips to the actual observations, and then compiling and analyzing the results.