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Marketers: Think of How Much You Can Learn by Getting Inside Your Customers' Homes

Author // Pamela Danzinger Categories // The Luxury Market

Marketers: Think of How Much You Can Learn by Getting Inside Your Customers' Homes

Take a Peek in Joanne's Closet

In-depth interviews give marketers a unique opportunity to examine their customers' lifestyles and buying behaviors when customers are surrounded by things they bought and love

When you first meet Joanne, a high-net-worth Baby Boomer, it is immediately clear that she is a consummate shopper. Just take a look inside her kitchen cabinets, where her treasured fine china is on display behind glass-fronted doors. "Twenty years ago, I met some friends from England, traveled there, and fell in love with Royal Doulton," she says. In the past two decades, as her friends have come to the U.S. and she has traveled abroad, Joanne commemorates each visit by adding a new piece or two to her collection.

"This is something I absolutely treasure," she says. And she is passing the tradition on to her granddaughter, Bella, who knows that a visit to her 'fancy grandma' will include fresh flowers and fine china on the table, even for breakfast. "There's always a place for elegance," Joanne explains.

But this love for shopping and collecting treasures doesn't mean Joanne will buy just for the sake of buying. "When I travel, I usually shop," she says, standing in front of her packed-full clothes closet, describing trips to Europe and Los Angeles. On a recent trip to Rodeo Drive, Joanne says "I didn't buy a lot; just a couple of things." She splurged on some fun tops, but she stopped short of adding more shoes to her closet. "I wanted to find some of these crazy multicolored shoes that are out right now, but on Rodeo Drive, of course you can't touch a pair for under $900," she says. "I'll look for some knock-offs somewhere else."

Get Inspired>>In-Depth Interviews Let Marketers Get Up Close and Personal with their Customers

As a luxury marketer, how valuable would it be if you could take a look in your customer's closet, listening as she describes the items that bring back fond memories, the ones for which a knock-off was an acceptable substitute for the real thing, and the ones she wishes she had bought more of at any price?

You can have access to this kind of intelligence through In-Depth Interviews (IDIs), a qualitative research technique that includes filmed conversations with customers. IDIs capture the kind of personal insights into a customer's lifestyle, motivations and attitudes that a marketer most needs.

IDIs can be conducted anywhere, in the store while shopping, in a hotel lobby or hotel room, at the table in a restaurant or any other venue where you want to study the customers' reaction and interaction. IDIs can also beconducted in the customer's own home or personal environment in order to capture the research subject where they feel most comfortable. At home, we can observe and probe behaviors, possessions and passions that might otherwise be unknown, or those that might be overly-embellished in another setting.

This one-on-one research approach gives us the chance to gain more insights, more revelation, more truth. Plus -- and this is a very big plus for clients that need to share the consumer insights -- if interviews are filmed, portions of the video can be incorporated into a presentation. There is nothing more memorable and powerful than customers showing and telling your story in their own words.

Take Action>> Put the Power of In-Depth Interviews Recorded on Video to Work for Your Brand

"You've got to shoot it to share it" -- Jo Anne De Vargas, Filmed Research group

I am pleased to be working with Jo Anne De Vargas and her team of skilled researchers and videographers to help my clients gain deeper, more actionable customer insights by conducting studies of affluent consumers living their everyday lives.  Depending upon your needs, customers can be studied in their home, at or on their way to work, while they shop, while they dine or check into a hotel, or when they are relaxing and having fun. Think of the powerful insights that can arise when you study consumers 'in situ,' not in an artificial research setting.

And these days, few respondents are shy in front of a video camera, though a crowd of observers in their home feels awkward. The average American household video records EVERYTHING (kids, weddings, pets, you name it). Yet, in business, and especially in market research, video is perceived as a dispensable "luxury" that may not fit into the project budget. More often than not, professional research video is actually a cost savings over the cost of bringing a whole team to focus groups to observe. Furthermore, when edited down to key insights, video provides content and context that can be appreciated in a spare few minutes via the web.

Of course the moral is, to share findings and capitalize on the BIG THOUGHTS you have to take the first step and put video-recorded IDIs into your research plan. Or as Jo Anne says, "You've got to shoot it to share it!"

I am excited about bringing the power of video to luxury marketers by partnering with Filmed Research group, a qualitative research supplier specializing in delivering findings supported by high-def, edited video. Their knack for bonding with respondents and discreetly shooting subjects in casual conversation uncovers deep insights. Their proprietary approach to editing quickly creates Voice of the Customer Video that is memorable and easy to share with your staff, management, agency and buyers.

If you'd like to learn more about putting the power of video to work for your business needs, you can call me at Unity Marketing 717.336.1600 or reach out to Jo Anne De Vargas directly at 262.595.0091 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

About the Author

Pamela Danzinger

Pamela Danzinger

Pamela N. Danziger is an internationally recognized expert specializing in consumer insights for marketers targeting the affluent consumer segment. She is president of Unity Marketing, a boutique marketing consulting firm she founded in 1992. Pam received the Global Luxury Award for top luxury industry achievers presented at the Global Luxury Forum in 2007 by Harper's Bazaar.

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