Know Thy Customer

March 7, 2018

Could spending a few hours at a customer’s home be a marketing boon? According to agencies and brands using ethnographic research techniques in their marketing efforts, the answer is a resounding yes.

Laura Bernier, VP of account planning at Phelps, a Los Angeles–based integrated marketing and communications agency, says ethnography is an important part of her job, which involves studying the motivations and behaviors of consumers and representing the voice of the consumer within the agency. Bernier recalls ethnographies she did for a global cleaning-products company while working at a market research agency. “We learned how people clean their homes by giving them a camera to capture [the] footage,” she says.

One surprising result of the research, Bernier says, was that consumers in many Latin American countries use one cleaning product for the entire home, rather than the North American way of using different products for different surfaces.

“Also, I think one of the greatest learnings was that their notion of clean was indicated by the power of the fragrance the product leaves behind,” Bernier says. “We wouldn’t have discovered those kinds of things if we hadn’t been onsite.”

Read the full article (which requires a quick sign-in process) featuring Phelps associate Laura Bernier at ANA Magazine.