business news in context, analysis with attitude

Nice story in the Seattle Times about the Hartman Group, which does market research by “gazing into people’s lives” in a holistic fashion that gives a higher level of insight.

“The information is worth millions to clients like PepsiCo, General Mills and Kellogg's, which for decades have relied on telephone surveys and focus groups to find out what consumers want,” the Times reports. “Hartman's researchers — many with doctorates in anthropology, sociology and linguistics — believe they learn more by chatting people up in their homes, hanging out with them while they shop and listening to them at house parties. Their subjects are more relaxed, and researchers see everything firsthand rather than relying on people's memories and fudged versions of themselves.”
KC's View:
Just as a matter of full disclosure, I’ve done some work with the Hartman folks over the years, and even feature some of their research in presentations that I do.

But the points being made by the Times are good ones, and worth repeating in a larger context – that people often act differently than they say they act, and that it makes sense to look at their food purchases within the context of their broader life decisions…in part because by doing so, and seeing how they define value and values, a marketer can discern how to create new and relevant products and services.