But instead, it's the mantra of Procter & Gamble, the world's leading consumer products company. In a recent Forbes article, P&G's philosophy of putting the customer first was examined. Of course, they are the envy of the industry, and as Edward Landry, a VP at Booz Allen Hamilton notes, "There is a world of difference between knowing and doing,"
How does P&G do it? They call it "immersion" - research that involves spending one-on-one time with consumers as they shop for and use products and services. It all leads to determining how to make a product or service more relevant to a consumer, and it involves actually observing consumers in action. According to P&G's marketing chief, Jim Stengel, "With the amount of information we have at our fingertips today, it makes it even more important to stay in touch, to get out there and talk to real people about real issues."
This type of ethnographic research goes well beyond calling people on the phone, and asking them what they do. It's about watching them use products in real time, and listening to what they really have to say. So, no numbers, but instead, incredible observations about real-time behavior.
This is exactly what Arbitron hired us to do earlier this year in a study we call "The Bedroom Project." We interviewed 30 18-28 year-olds in L.A. and Columbus, Ohio and watched them use media - iPods, computers, cell phones, TV, and of course, radio. We interviewed them in their homes, their dorms, their cars, and yes, their bedrooms.
It produced some incredible video, and we're showing it in a couple of different presentations at the NAB/R&R/Jacobs Summit this fall in Charlotte. The all-encompassing Arbitron presentation will occur on Wednesday afternoon (9/26) for an NAB "Super Session." On Thursday afternoon (9/27), Dave Beasing and Arbitron's Dr. Ed Cohen will look at "The Bedroom Project" from a radio-centric point of view during our Summit. We hope you'll make the time to see both presentations.
As P&G has learned, there's nothing like ethnography to really get into the heads - and homes - of target consumers. You've never seen anything like this before.