Monday, October 23, 2006

Ford tailgates customers as part of their market research

CNN reports on how Ford is using ethnographic research to build customer personas, which in turn form the basis of their car designs. Through survey research, marketers closed in on people who might like a particular kind of car and gave these people a name like "Phil." They figured out what the Phil's of the world like and dislike, and what their lives are like, etc. They then followed around a sample group of Phil's as the article describes, "They were followed in their homes, cars, offices and on shopping trips by researchers carrying note pads and video cameras. Their tastes in clothes, home furnishings, even beer, were noted. Everything they did with their cars, or wanted to do but couldn't, was noted and studied." Ford then built a car around Phil's lifestyle (which turns out to be a Ford Edge).

Of course, I'm wondering what librarians could discover about patrons by applying these research methods. What I like about this technique is that it puts researchers in the shoes of the customer to flesh out what survey data says. I'm not sure if this is a method that librarians would adopt, but I do think it's important when possible to step out of the librarian role to understand how patrons experience the library.

Categories: neat_trends | real_life

No comments: