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Anthropological Approach to Experience Marketing

It is being said that Digital advertising is getting powerful now than it ever has been. But where does the UXM(User Experience management) Stands? Are we lagging behind the trend?  If there is enough research has already made to demystify consumer psychology in the IT sphere? Does the current research have any significant values on consumer behaviour? Does it tends to offer very limited views, and is of little practical value? Who are the netizen that consumed UXM solution in today’s world?  Does the end result of such fragmented research often leaves major “soft” behavioural issues unaddressed or unaccounted.
In the view of above Anthropology is becoming an increasingly popular source from which to borrow tools to investigate marketing and consumer behaviour as because the anthropological approach focuses on the influences of culture and society on the individual consumer’s behaviour; it emphasizes participant observation and academic analysis of consumer behaviour through both management and consumer perspectives.
The questions to be asked how subcultures differ from mainstream consumers in terms of their preferences for products and services, drawing attention to the viability and responsiveness pressures of potentially unforeseen markets. Lets us sheds some light on the characteristics of the tribes in order to understand their behavioural pattern.At this point, we can simply but safely say that the principles of today’s management are a scientific field of study about humans’ behaviours. Therefore Business Ethnography is to be with the practised to studies of corporate cultures in order to stimulate substantial growth. We would require to have shown how specific configurations of values within organisations can contribute to their success or failure. We need to be engaged in the emic feelings of informants.So what is today’s need amongst the tribes (end users and the potential clients) who wander into the IT arena for what good reasons .

Evolution of anthropology in organizational research and business education
It may happen Irish Americans reveal a tendency to retain the cultural characteristics of their heritage, thereby having implications for the ability of conventional marketing efforts to cater to this subculture. Likewise, the Jewish subculture and provides some very compelling reasons why consumer behaviour characteristics of American Jews should not be disregarded.

May be I am getting too gabby in order to establish a simple hypothesis and that essentially is marketing follows a simple law - consumers purchase products that fit their needs.  The better a company knows its consumers’ needs, the more likely its products, services and communications will solve these needs. It just that simple. 

Example 1 Housekeeping goes social and mobile applications need one characteristic to be successful and appreciated by consumers: in order to be useful and, possibly, worth to share with the friends, check out the online version of the app http://www.tide.com/en-US/stains/top-stains.jspx and you would understand the nuances very well. Example – 2 Think about a service called Pinterest ‘http://pinterest.com/’and how well First Born a Digital Ad Agency team up with Uniqlo  for a project that owns Pinterest. The project targets five categories on which mosaics will appear: ‘men’s apparel, women’s apparel, geek, fitness and sports. This campaign with the post series of images rendered very simply, which we can really tell the story’. It looks simple albeit there were some technical challenges that had overcome by the Agency Firstborn. 
Example – 3 Now, Vodafone UK has launched a website which is the combination of Google Maps and Twitter to build the picture of where British people are going to spend their summer holidays.The website help the message spread which states that roaming charges across Europe have been eventually abolished by Vodafone.
Now all these above examples are actually the eye openers to the role of anthropology in business. These developments must have required that anthropology be given a higher profile within business classes to ensure results. The core concept in anthropology is culture. Be it culture of an ethnic group or chunk of netizens or whosoever is culture is an underlying dimension of all societies.  All human behaviour, including market behaviour, that’s too takes place within a cultural context.Cultural components are neither random nor haphazard, but form an internally logical and consistent adaptive system that helps individuals function successfully within their physical and social environment.  In other words, cultural beliefs and behaviour have pragmatic value: they are intimately bound up with people’s experiences in the real world.  

Synchronizing anthropology in digital spears (Neuroanthropology)

Now in Anthropology Anthropologists tend to study culture which is participant-observation. It involves living among a group of people, observing them and recording their behaviour. The resulting account of a cultural system and its members is termed ethnography. While doing participant observation, anthropologists try to adopt an emic approach, that is, uncovering “native” images for events and behaviour.  They are recorded separately from the observations and interpretations.  It is kind of “stereovision” (image of the left eye and image from the right eye) two distinct texts are created.  These texts need to be analyzed separately and then combined to reveal any differences.  To resolve certain discrepancies which exist, “native” informants should be asked to comment on the researcher’s descriptions and explanations.  These comments serve as a check on the researcher’s ethnocentrism while adding greater depth to the “native” view.  Similarly, discrepancies within the “native” text need to be uncovered and explained. Today, many anthropologists employ qualitative techniques (survey, for example), especially if they are doing research in complex organizations.  Now one may want to look at the digital arena, particularly in experience marketing where designers, Information Architect going through the similar steps when quantitative and qualitative techniques are combined (Example Likert scale, Delphi method, Projective techniques etc). Some anthropologists argue that in-depth participant observation (lasting at least several months) is the foundation of applicable anthropological research.  During this extended time period, researchers can move through the ideal patterns, to the belief patterns shared by informants, to modal behavioural patterns that will be observed and participated in.  Anything less does not qualify as a bona fide ethnography.A relevant case study in this regard would be of a leading finance service institution, ‘Citicorp, even created a vice presidency for anthropologist Steve Barnett, who discovered early warning signs to identify people who don't pay credit-card bills. Not satisfied with consumer surveys, Hallmark is sending anthropologists into the homes of immigrants to attend holidays and birthday parties to design cards they'll want.  No survey can tell engineers what women really want in a razor, so marketing consultant Hauser Design sends anthropologists into bathrooms to watch them shave their legs  (Seattle Times staff report, Feb. 22, 1999).’Anthropologists and anthropological methods offer a unique perspective.  Using advertising as an example, while focus groups would look at the demographics of a region to best select a specific advertising campaign, an anthropologist would study people’s reaction to the ad.  

Conclusion

Now In short, in MSAT are we ready to employ the anthropological approach (apart from just age old heuristic studies which may lacks an ethnological component) which is effective in the study of consumer behaviours?  Streamlining research could be acceptable if it produces useful and cost-effective information for the decision makers. Paying attention to the time value of money it may be the concern that it has to be unique (which it is) in nature particularly to the application of qualitative and virtual anthropology methods. It is to be grasped that Anthropology has gained a larger role within practitioner research in the business territory, from consumer behaviour studies to human resource management, and from cross-cultural marketing to strategic international business management. Of course, the application of anthropological methods in business education is not a simple combination of anthropology and business classes and for that we might have to come across to a Tool but that too again is different projection and would be discussed in due course of time. But the need of the hour is to expedite a substantial growth in institutional framework that can instigate paradigm shift from Vicious to Virtuous Cycle.  It is known Qualitative methods have long been taught within business schools and the current shift towards anthropology is destined to give these methods a higher profile.
Being a naïve I may not well jump upon to a conclusion whether this would be a critical pedagogy or a common goal shared by all business educators, it is clearly a more practical approach that could be reached.


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