Revitalizing existing products or services
The first way that businesses are using ethnography to spark innovation is by revitalizing an already existing product or service of the business to meet the varied needs of the customers.
The second way is by using ethnography to penetrate markets that hitherto they knew nothing about. This strategy studies the varied customer needs and collaborates them into the business.
After embracing ethnography, Intel now uses “platform-definition centers.” It is necessary to understand the unique needs and desires of diverse cultures in any marketing strategy. The platform definition centers assist to identify and come up with products that suit the unique requirements of the local end-users. Adapting market strategies in each country gives rise to efficient products that sufficiently meets the needs of the local end-users.
Feature creep relates to the aspect of a product requires that surpasses its original design. This strategy is mostly practiced in the proliferation of computer software. In this case, the manufacturer settles on having additional features supplemented on the product before letting it go to ensure that it is more users friendly and pleasant to the intended market. Feature creep can also be incorporated into a product when the customer who needs the product keeps adding his or her specifications to the product’s design. This strategy can influence the expected cost of a product, complicate a product with unnecessary features, and interrupt its release to the target market. This strategy was tried at Intel when Genevieve Bell, an ethnographer, gave the opinion to have engineers recognize experiences to group different technologies. “Escape rubric comprised of movies, games, and music, while the Life and Spirituality basket had health and wellness put into it”.
Ethnography is an elaborate research method that employs the use of different techniques to analyze various behavior, culture, and attitudes to come to terms with the various needs of the end-users and the way they decide to buy goods and services. An increasing number of business professionals hold it as a key marketing strategy and a better option to substitute the long time focus groups. In direct contrast to asking end-users to give their comments on different products or services while sitting in an office, ethnographic researchers, monitor individuals in secret or public places and ask them relevant questions in circumstances where they are found. An analysis of the report then takes place to discover end users’ motivations and interactions with the products. This allows businesses to reveal new market segments, spark innovation in their products, come up with more satisfying products, and design better strategies of marketing.
The article has three case studies that successfully employed ethnography to spark innovation into their system. The first one is Marriot Company that hired a team of researchers from IDEO inc. to look at ways of revitalizing their existing products and services. The research team succeeded in realizing this goal. The second case is about General Electric Co., who hired Jump Associates to look into ways that their new plastic-fiber business can effectively penetrate the market. The last case is about the Intel Company that needed to transform its culture to compete effectively in the market. Through employing ethnography, they discovered the need for collaboration with the consumers and understanding the role of culture in affecting consumer behavior.