New market research tool combines Ethnography with video-streaming

The new tool, christened ‘Ethnostream’, captures customer’s use of an existing product or service, or the environment in which a potential new product or service may be used.

e4m by Arwa Sultanali
Updated: Nov 4, 2011 9:20 AM
New market research tool combines Ethnography with video-streaming

More than a decade old market research company, Majestic MRSS (Marketing Research Support Services), launched ‘Ethnostream’, a novel market research tool in India and 13 other countries.

The tool takes the ancient study of ethnography - that involves spending time in understanding the culture and environment of a person - a few notches higher when it is combined with video-streaming technology to arm marketers with a true picture of their customer.

The tool essentially captures customer’s use of an existing product or service in use, or the environment in which a potential new product or service may be used. This tool is useful in product development life cycle processes - a gap for a specific product or service in any given industry, testing of new product concepts, development of a product or the sampling of a new product through a marketing strategy.

The tool consists of a video camera, mixer, encoder and other data communication requirements. The tool assorts several data elements like still photographs, movies, respondent’s actions and respondent diaries of tasks performed.

The tool was developed two months back and the clients that have used this tool are HUL, P&G, Reckitt Benckiser, Ranbaxy, Nokia, Microsoft and HP. Majestic MRSS partnered with Focus Vision and Active Video who are the two global service providers to develop this tool.

Speaking on the unique features of Ethnostream, Raj Sharma, Co-Founder and President, Majestic MRSS said, “In market research, ethnography is ancient methodology that helps you in understanding culture and environment of target audiences. The demand for ethnographic research is on the rise with companies wanting to observe consumers and their behavior firsthand in their natural environments, and converse with them.”

With an example, he further stated that the Arab world reads from right to left and this context is important to understand while making an advertisement for viewers of Arab countries or a social networking site which will work within the Chinese political system as well as satisfy the consumers.

He also said that as companies become global, knowledge centers become global which essentially means that companies have teams working from different part of the world. The tool facilitates remote viewers to communicate with on-site researchers via a chat interface and enables viewers across the globe to chat with each other to enhance cultural immersion and simultaneous translation capability to any language.

He added, “Corporates can now watch and be a part of such ethnographic studies from the comforts of their offices, or from their mobiles. The tool also enables you to have unlimited number of viewers across the globe that can watch the sessions 'live' and participate and engage in Focus Groups/Depths from a non-urban location.” Additionally, Ethnostream will help companies reduce expenditure incurred in travel and others logistics that are involved in ethnographic research today.

He further explained, “Earlier the high cost of travel and other logistics made this exercise an expensive and time-consuming proposition. Ethnostream does away with those obstacles.”

Majestic MRSS is Asia’s largest independent marketing research company specializing in multi-country studies. It has a presence in major cities in India, Asia & Middle East. Majestic MRSS has a run rate of USD 11 million for FY 2011-2012.


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