Ethnography is said to originate from anthropology, traditionally referring to the practice where by market researchers study a culture over a long period of time, observing behaviours and actions. Ethnography, in the world of qualitative market research has been adopted to describe occasions where market researchers spend time observing and possibly interacting with participants in areas of their everyday lives. In more recent years ethnography has been adapted further to reflect its use within online communities – this is known as Netnography.
Netnography follows the same principals of ethnography; however it unitizes the online nature by using features such as blogs, online discussion forums and online ‘focus’ chats to understand customers behaviours and views. Netnography has many advantages. Due to it’s on-line nature it is faster, simpler and more cost effective than the traditional method of ethnography. It is also deemed to be less obtrusive and more ‘real’ than traditional methods used such as focus groups or face to face interviews. People feel like they can submit their views without feeling judged or under pressure. By understanding the views and behaviours of customers over a period of time it enables research segmentation analysis to be conducted.
This form of analysis enables businesses to split their customer base into various categories based on a number of factors (such as buying behaviour, age and gender for example). By conducting this research form analysis it allows businesses to devise individual market research strategies for different groups of customers. This segmentation analysis can be crucial to the success of targeted your plans.
If you are interested in how CommCulture online communities and market research can help you connect with your customers get in touch.