The Ethnography of Book Buyers

By November 20, 2008 3 Comments

Readership of blogs is on the rise. Jupiter Research noted a 300 percent growth in monthly blog readership in the past four years. Readers look to links and multiple blog sources to extend the conversation: 49 percent of blog readers, defined as someone who reads at least one blog a month, and 71 percent of frequent readers all read more than one blog per session. Multiple blog sources offer more opportunities for consumers to see blog ads. A quarter of readers say they trust ads on a blog, compared to 19 percent who trust ads on social networking sites.

Advertisements on blogs are an opportunity for marketers to reach consumers. The findings said 40 percent of people reading blogs have taken action as a result of viewing an ad on a blog; and 50 percent of frequent blog readers say they have taken action. Of those actions: 17 percent have read product reviews online; 16 percent have sought out more information on a product or service; and 16 percent have visited a manufacturer or retailer Web site.

“More and more publishers are becoming extremely savvy understanding the game and becoming better at monetizing,” said Combs, noting that niche blogs work well because the contain “personal, specific information. Thorough, useful, honest creation, [these blogs] create a level of trust with the reader.”

Ethnographic Marketing Now Available
Ninthlink now provides ethnographic research services.  Many companies are now using the tools of ethnographic research to help understand consumers and potential customers, how a product integrates into the culture of the consumer, and how a brand can be better marketed those consumers based on the qualitative and quantitative data from the research.

Ethnography is the study of people in their natural, everyday environments—where people live, work, shop, and play. It is a set of complementary techniques developed within the discipline of anthropology, sociology, communications, and now marketing research. The ethnographic method requires a well-trained researcher (or team of researchers) skillful in immersing him or herself in diverse environments, cultures, and populations; in establishing rapport with people in these social contexts; and in interacting with them through participation, observation and dialogue to uncover their attitudes, beliefs, perceptions, and values, as well as the unspoken cultural patterns that shape behavior.

In a business or marketing research context, ethnography is used to uncover, interpret, and understand the consumer point-of-view and the hidden rules of environments. Whereas focus groups and surveys rely on self-reporting and memory out of context, ethnography provides a holistic view of consumers in the context of their daily lives.

There really is no substitute for the opportunity to experience what consumer’s experience. For example, consumers do not interact with your products and services in isolation; they are affected by changing family patterns, unseen cultural factors, and other products and objects in the proximate environment. Ethnographic research is the best means for getting at these unspoken cultural and social patterns that shape consumer behavior.

Ethnography can be used as a stand-alone technique or can be used in conjunction with other qualitative and quantitative marketing research techniques. We offer both.
We provide real-world understanding of consumer preferences, motivations, and needs by examining the environments consumers inhabit and the socio-cultural influences on their behaviors. Such insights translate into strategic business opportunities, including improved customer loyalty and increased competitive advantage.

Ninthlink’s ethnographic services include:

•    Consumer research that reveals the unspoken cultural and social patterns that shape consumer behavior
•    Intelligent research design which delivers actionable, “big picture” findings for clear return on          investment (ROI)
•    Market expertise from the team: sustainability, technology, retail, and consumer electronics
•    Integrity and commitment to service: we take no short-cuts and devote unparalleled attention to every project

We’ll examine how consumers actually use and experience your products and services to determine their patterns of usage, current level of satisfaction, un-satisfied wants and needs (how the consumer wants “more” and how you can deliver this) and suggestions for improvement.


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