When it is important to study the natural environment of the target group, a flexible and open ethnographic methodology should be used.

This methodology, used in marketing research (in business), is aimed at exploring phenomena related, in particular, to activities carried out by customers or consumers. The subject of such research could be the work and habits of households, activities related to the purchase, the use of services and the use of equipment or products.

Ethnography makes it possible to establish standards and regularity in behaviour and to describe their typical character in a customary context and environment, and thus describe them as they are. Such knowledge is acquired by experienced and open-minded researchers, who are able to maintain professional objectivity and adapt the procedure of data collection and analysis to a very specific ethnographic situation.

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The ethnography carried out by the PMR research team involves techniques such as

  • observation of the visit and/or assistance
  • recording and aggregation of natural conversation/commentary content
  • analysis of documents and contents
  • high-quality interviews (see Interviews)

The basic advantages of the ethnographic method are:

  • the possibility of obtaining information on the actual course of the activities tested in natural conditions
  • to make it possible to determine the significance of the product or brand throughout the lifetime of the consumer
  • the development of “marketing imagination”, expanding the understanding of the consumer
  • the adequacy of the method when tested:
    • the impact of spatial organisation of the environment in terms of behaviour,
    • in terms of routine activities,
    • with regard to non-verbal communication.

Ethnography assists with the understanding of phenomena and target groups more than any other research methodology. However, it does not give a representative view of the situation of the whole population or group. With a well-selected sample and reliable implementation, it provides a much broader picture and can be equally helpful in both operational and strategic business activities.

At PMR, we always try, if appropriate, to convince our clients to use the ethnographic methodology, even in part. Its specificity and advantages can be implemented in various kinds of qualitative measurements. As a result, the potential exploration of a given issue is more complete and adequate. Research project managers at PMR also try to use elements of ethnography to identify research and advisory opportunities within non-standard target groups or solutions. Such “Awareness” gives us greater confidence in preparing a relevant offer for our clients.

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