Ethnographic/Observational Research

Conducting ethnography deep dives with Applied Marketing Science was eye-opening. We had no idea people used our product that way. The limitations of our design, and of our thinking, were clear.
Manager, Medical Products Manufacturer

Ethnography involves observing people: watching what they actually do, and not what they say they do. As anthropologist and ethnography pioneer Margaret Mead said, “What people say, what people do, and what they say they do are entirely different things.”

Sometimes called deep dives, safaris, immersions or connects, ethnographic research goes beyond what people say. It reveals latent, unspoken needs that people might not even realize they have. Ethnographic research demonstrates how people use your product in a real-world context, possibly in ways you never imagined. Ethnographies are effective for examining existing products and refining product concepts and prototypes to maximize product-market fit.

The AMS Difference

In consumer ethnographies, we visit everyday people in their homes, retail stores and online. We also often use mobile ethnography, where consumers send us videos or photos of themselves shopping, demonstrating how they shop for and use your product and commenting on the experience.

Our systematic approach to ethnography research takes you from understanding to action.

  • What’s working for consumers, and what’s not working? What obstacles do they encounter? How do they feel about the experience? We structure ethnographic observations around critical study areas.
  • Do consumers use your product alone or with others? Is the environment loud or quiet, spacious or confined, brightly lit or dark? How do these conditions impact the design? We detail the context or occasion in which consumers use your product.
  • What are the insights we can only learn through observations? We seek out important clues to uncover hidden or latent needs.

The End Result

We deliver interactive, multi-media reports that tell a compelling story, enabling your team to see and hear directly from consumers and allowing your cross-functional teams to see and hear directly from consumers. We also provide clear recommendations for acting on the results.

By studying the consumer and the product in real life, ethnography helps you enhance existing products, as well as create new product concepts and prototypes that outperform the competition and succeed in the marketplace.

Unlock the power of ethnography for product and service design.Connect with Us

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