On Safari with Your Consumer!

Ethnographic adventure-tours in the automotive industry

An international automotive manufacturer wanted to gain a better understanding of a particular market segment so that he could better focus future marketing activities. GIM gave the client the opportunity to observe the target group up close and personal, with a novel approach to market research!

The challenge

The solution

The success

The challenge

The car manufacturer wanted an all-inclusive, unbiased insight into the lifestyle and contexts of the specific segment of the target market.

The main research questions to be answered were:

  • “How do they plan their everyday lives?”
  • “What are their priorities in life?”
  • “What makes them tick?”

The solution

GIM experts responded with a qualitative research model, which guaranteed a close-up observation of the consumer. The client was offered the opportunity to undertake an ethnographic study which involved accompanying carefully selected representatives of the target group through their day-to-day lives over several days. The study was carried out in Germany (Berlin) and in Italy (Milan) and the sample was made up of 10 people altogether.

The recruits were carefully screened using a special procedure. The appropriate candidates were identified following a half-hour, at-home “pre-screening” interview. Then, before the field-study, the selected sample was interviewed for two-and-a-half hours at home and ethnographically questioned in depth about their habits and routines. In addition, their homes were extensively photographed.

A week after these “Inhome” interviews, the client was personally introduced to his target-market during a “meet & greet” session. This informal meeting served as an ice-breaker between client and consumer, enabling them to more easily interact over the following days’ activities.

A week later, it was time for the client, the consumer, the GIM-researcher and an interpreter to go on city-safari together! For three days, the consumer was accompanied through his everyday life in the big city and the client was thereby able to observe his/her “life context”. During the tour, the consumer was “shadowed” from morning ’til night and many “free-time” activities were undertaken. The (research) schedule included shopping together, sight-seeing, visiting bars and restaurants and even flea-markets!

The success

With this novel approach to market research, GIM was able to grant the client a comprehensive, novel and, above all, authentic insight into the relevant consumer market segment. The client’s marketing activities directed at this market segment could be optimized and successfully adjusted in accordance with the study’s results.

Read more about Research at GIM Berlin