Ethnography is a proven anthropological approach to researching human behaviour by studying interactions in their naturally occurring context. In much the same way that naturalists study animals in the wild rather than those in captivity, the researcher studies behaviour as it naturally arises. By considering the context of the behaviours, the motivations, interactions and structure which governs the behaviour is easier to identify.
Netnography aims to translate this powerful tool into something more relevant to the digital age, where a high proportion of a person’s social interactions might occur online, by applying the same principals used in ethnography to the vast amount of information available on the web.
By studying online behaviours and interactions with an eye to the rich context available, we can generate powerful insights which can help develop new product concepts, identify market opportunities and even understand and anticipate the changing needs of consumers.
As online business communities and social networks grow in importance and technology enables us to gather more and more information about the online behaviours of key decision makers, netnography is becoming an increasingly attractive tool for B2B research.
To what extent do you think your company can benefit from netnography? Let us know in the comments section below.