Ethnography is the process of doing observational research (often involving discrete video capture) on how consumers use and engage with your products out in the real world environment (in-store and/or at home). Focus Groups, on the other hand involve getting potential customers together and then quizzing them about the product in retrospective. Ethnography is a great way of drawing out improvements and opportunities for innovation, particularly around newly launched products. The trick is to ensure that product developers and designers get personally involved in the activity.
Anyway here are 3 reasons why Ethnography is better than using Focus Groups
- Consumers often can't remember much about products when questioned about them in retrospective and outside the normal context.
- Observing consumer use the product in its normal context yields much more useful data and often unexpected behaviour
- Recording the behaviour gives the product development team valuable footage that they can show to senior management to justify investments in product and packaging improvements
The inspiration for this post came from the Innovation Tools blog and they recommend three useful articles around ethnography