How Did Your Methodology Come to Be?

Razi Imam

113 Industries began with the knowledge that traditional focus groups and surveys can be good tools for addressing specific questions, but not necessarily for identifying consumer needs or product ideas. We now use machine learning, AI and natural language processing to get to the root of insights that typically aren’t revealed in traditional marketing research methods.

In focus groups or surveys, consumers might know how to answer specific questions, but what ends up happening is consumers don’t share their unarticulated needs. We believe insights aren’t generated by asking questions, but rather through observations. If you look at the methodologies to generate insights, the most powerful one is ethnography—the study of how people go about their daily lives. When you’re able to observe how people live their lives, you’re able to learn about everyday behaviors that may not be revealed in a focus group or survey.

The next question we had to answer was how to scale this ethnography. How could 113 make it more democratic and affordable so everybody could use it comfortably? We discovered that if we want to view organic behavior, we needed to capture organic data that’s readily available in the digital world. People are constantly talking online about what they’re buying, consuming and how they’re using products. Using methodologies like machine learning, AI and natural language processing, we can capture this data, analyze these organic conversations, and then pull out those insights to find those ethnographies.