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The Zmet Technique

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This presentation was created in a graduate course, Advanced Account Planning, to serve as a reference for teaching the basics of the Zmet technique.

This presentation was created in a graduate course, Advanced Account Planning, to serve as a reference for teaching the basics of the Zmet technique.

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  • Method combines: neurobiology, psychoanalysis, linguistics, and art theory. Used to uncover the mental models that guide consumer behavior. Talk about Apple example: transformation of Apple brand is different for every consumer. Some may not want to admit that a product actually reflects on their own self-image and identity. For example, I may feel out of place at UT if I’m awkwardly riding the bus and I don’t have an Ipod or if I’m in the Texas Creative program and I don’t own a Macbook. It would make me feel like an outsider but this level of hidden knowledge would not be measured for in a survey or focus group.
  • Dr. Zaltman’s areads of research: Research concerning the representation of thought and how managers and customers represent their thinking to others and how they represent ideas and knowledge given to them. The ZMET was used to explore these ideas Seeing thought – understanding how customers’ reactions to advertising, retail store designs and product designs affect behavior. Deep Metaphors – “deep metaphors are basic orienting structures of human thought.” They help us understand how customers process information and dig into the emotional levels of the brain. His interest areas include brands, customer behavior, customer satisfaction, organizational research and consumer psychology. Source: http://drfd.hbs.edu/fit/public/facultyInfo.do?facInfo=pub&facEmId=gzaltman#books
  • Two people can look at the very same data and have two totally different interpretations.
  • Ask class what they think this ad could be about – without reading fine text. Could be outer worlds, conservation, war – the way we feel about preemptively striking countries. Zaltman suggests that we see this happening a lot in marketing. Usually, managers see things very differently from the way that actual consumers see them. Sometimes, managers think that the consumers doesn’t know what he wants and it’s the companies task to educate them. “ Half of American youth can’t find countries such as Japan, India and Iraq on a map – placed essential to understand in a globally connected world. That’s why we created MyWonderfulWorld.org. It’s part of a free National Geographic led campaign to give your kids the power of global knowledge. It’s a wonderful world, explore!
  • The problem – we are faced with a number of choices everyday but do not think rationally about what we are buying Instead, “the knowledge of what we need lies so deeply embedded in our brains that it rarely surfaces.” - Zaltman - FastCompany http://64.233.169.104/search?q=cache:jk5YUfsAei0J:www.mngt.waikato.ac.nz/ejrot/cmsconference/2003/proceedings/criticalmarketing/Contardo.pdf+companies+that+use+zmet+technique&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=15&client=safari Base – 2006
  • 1930s - newspapers and magazines launched public-opinion polls which were the first to predict elections. Then, these polls were used to gain knowledge about other topics. Survey data was collected, believed to be accurate, and was thought to be an ‘in’ to the customer’s brain. 1940s - Qualitative research - whose impact on market research traces back to 1941, when Columbia University sociologist Robert Merton conducted the first focus group. Since then, a range of new qualitative techniques have burst onto the scene: in-depth interviews participant observation ethnographic research projective techniques http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/14/zaltman.html
  • http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C01E6DB103EF930A15751C0A9649C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=3 ZMET was born during a trip Zaltman took to remote areas of Nepal in 1990. He gave locals, who had never taken photos before, cameras to take pictures of important things and events in their lives. For example, in some cases, the assignment was: What photos would you take if you wanted to show someone else what life was like here? Two weeks later he returned to the regions covered initially, gave copies to the photographers, and interviewed them about the meaning of their photos. Zaltman realized just how powerful the use of images “owned” by those being interviewed were in gaining a deep understanding of their implicit or tacit assumptions and beliefs. Zaltman noticed, for example, that they often cut off the feet of people appearing in their images. It was discovered that this was deliberate. The Nepalese did not want to embarrass their friends and neighbors by showing their bare feet, which was a sign of poverty, and for this reason deliberately chose to leave it out of the photographic record. [7] July 25, 1995
  • Pictures of handbags
  • Harvard Business School, hbs.edu
  • "Conventional research told us that women mostly hated wearing panty hose," says Glenda Green, a market-research manager at DuPont, which manufactures fibers for women's hosiery. "We did tremendous research - telephone interviews, mall-intercept interviews, everything you can think of." But she wasn't convinced that the company really understood what lurked deep in women's minds: "We thought there was a dimension of this that we were missing.” A week later, after those images had simmered in each woman's subconscious, the subjects discussed each picture during an intense two-hour session with one of Zaltman's specially trained interviewer-cum-therapists. Then, with the aid of a technician using Adobe Photoshop, participants created collages of their thoughts and feelings about panty hose - works of art that doubled as windows into their minds.
  • To answer the question, the women enacted ZMET's crucial next step: They collected a dozen pictures from magazines, catalogs, and family photo albums that captured their thoughts and feelings about the product. The women found images of steel bands strangling trees, of twisted telephone cords, and of fence posts encased in a tight plastic wrap - not too hard to figure out. But they also chose pictures of two African masks hanging on a bare wall, of an ice-cream sundae spilled on the ground, of a luxury car, and of flowers resting peacefully in a vase. "We got intensity, texture, and depth that we'd never gotten from other studies," Green recalls. "This was the first time we heard positive things that we could act on." For instance, the woman who chose the image of the fence posts encased in plastic wrap also selected the photo of the vase of flowers: Wearing the product made her feel thin and tall. The ice-cream sundae represented the embarrassment caused by stocking runs; the expensive car, the feeling of luxury. One woman's final collage pictured a cookie cutter wrapped in a garden hose, and set against the backdrop of a silk dress - conformity and discomfort on a field of elegance. "The images also brought out subtleties related to sexual issues," Green recalls. "Women would say, 'They make my legs feel longer.' Why is it important to have long legs? 'Men like long legs.' Why do men like long legs? 'They're sexy.' And eventually women would say they wanted to feel sexy to men. You don't get that in a straight interview."
  • How Customers Think - keywords (important for power of the metaphor)
  • But with more products filling store shelves, and with the Internet creating an entirely new way to reach customers, companies have grown restive with even the most innovative qualitative techniques. Zaltman thought he knew why: Market researchers didn't understand the human brain, and they were speaking the wrong language.Cognitive scientists have learned that human beings think in images, not in words. But most market research uses words, not images: It relies on surveys, questionnaires, and focus groups. Sociolinguists know that most communication is nonverbal. But most research tools are, as Zaltman puts it, "verbocentric.” Poets and psychiatrists understand that metaphor - viewing one thing in terms of another - is central to thought and crucial to uncovering latent needs and emotions. But most marketers are so caught up in the literal, they neglect the metaphoric. Some of things students think of – luxury, who carries, celebrity status – status is visual Conscious - Also called the congnitive conscous mind. For example, the woman’s decision to try the product was a conscious though that she shared with her firned. IT emerged from many thoughts, some of them conscious but most of them unconscious, such as her favorable view of the company, her need to find more appealing food for her children andher willingness to take a risk. Unconscious -
  • http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C01E6DB103EF930A15751C0A9649C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=1 Zaltman has conducted more than 200 studies. Coke, DuPont, General Motors, Nestle, Reebok, AT&T Downy Charges $75,000 for services http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C01E6DB103EF930A15751C0A9649C8B63&scp=1&sq=penetrating+the+mind+by+metaphor&st=nyt
  • http://64.233.169.104/search?q=cache:jk5YUfsAei0J:www.mngt.waikato.ac.nz/ejrot/cmsconference/2003/proceedings/criticalmarketing/Contardo.pdf+companies+that+use+zmet+technique&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=15&client=safari
  • http://www.starwoodhotels.com/lemeridien/destinations/moodboard.html?EM=VTY_LM_MOODBOARD http://www.polyvore.com/cgi/set?id=2877775 Visually-based – not the technique itself – being able to interact and put photos together Polyvore
  • Can’t do it without special training – must have software to actually analyze – can conduct it.
  • Point 2 – ex. Soap (people know why they use it – it’s already been explored).
  • Transcript

    • 1. "A lot goes on in our minds that we're not aware of. Most of what influences what we say and do occurs below the level of awareness. That's why we need new techniques: to get at hidden knowledge - to get at what people don't know they know.” - Zaltman The Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation Technique
    • 2.
      • Professor at Harvard Business School
      • Member of the Executive Committee of Harvard University's Mind, Brain, and Behavior Interfaculty Initiative.
      • Co-founder and senior partner in the research based consulting firm of Olson Zaltman Associates
      • Ph.D in sociology, MBA from University of Chicago
      • Wrote - How Customers
      • Think: Essential Insights into
      • the Mind of the Market and
      • Marketing Metaphoria:
      • What Deep Metaphors Reveal
      • about the Minds of Consumers
      The Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation Technique Patent Issued: July 25, 1995
    • 3. W What do you see?
    • 4. What do you see?
    • 5.
      • Average of 30,000 items on shelves of American supermarkets
      • Introduction of 17,000 new products a year*
      • We do not think rationally about what we buy
      • “ The knowledge of what we need lies so deeply embedded in our brains that is rarely surfaces” – Zaltman
      How do we attract customers who see everything differently?
    • 6. Research A Brief History
    • 7.
      • 1990 vacation in Nepal
      • Asked village residents to take pictures
      • Assignment: assume you’re going to leave this village and move somewhere else. You want to tell people about the life that was here, what pictures would you take to show them?
      • Feet cut off
      • Marketing through pictures
      • Words, but also visual metaphors
      The Creation of the ZMET Technique
    • 8. Class Activity
    • 9.
      • Time
      • Pre-interview
      • Sensory, visual and non-verbal
      • Steps
      The ZMET Technique
    • 10.
      • Story Telling
      • Missing Pictures
      • Triad Task
      • Metaphor Probe/Expand the Frame
      • Sensory (Non-Visual) Metaphors
      • Vignette
      • Digital Imaging
      The Seven-step Process
    • 11.
      • Time
      • Software
      • Constructs
      • Create consensus maps
      Analysis of the ZMET
    • 12. Women: The Panty hose Haters
      • First question: What are your thoughts and feelings about buying and wearing panty hose?”
      • Next: Photo collection
      • Then: Two-hour discussion
    • 13. Women: The Panty hose Haters Feeling of being thin and tall Embarrassment caused by stocking runs Feeling strangled Luxury
    • 14.
      • Zaltman introduces several concepts:
        • Mental model – a set of thoughts formed when neural clusters influence each other; used to process information from and respond to an abstract event.
        • A road map that identifies communities and their connecting routes.
        • Consumers encounter this when they need to contemplate a decision.
      The Power Of Metaphor
    • 15.
      • Humans think in images, not words. Most research tools, according to Zaltman, are “verbocentrics.”
        • Conscious thought – thoughts that we can articulate because we are fully aware of our own existence, sensations and cognition.
        • Unconscious thought – thinking outcomes of which we are unaware or vaguely aware and struggle to articulate, mental activity outside conscious awareness.
      • Metaphors stimulate the workings of the human mind.
      The Power Of Metaphor
    • 16.
      • Speaking time
      • Multiple steps, reduces chance of missing key ideas
      • Dominant participant in focus groups
      • Socially acceptable answers
      Beyond the focus group and survey
    • 17.
      • What companies are taking advantage of this research technique?
      Application: Account Planning 200 studies @ $75,000 each
    • 18.
      • Why the ZMET?
        • The consumer is in control, not the researcher (unlike focus groups, gather own pics, develop own insights).
        • Use of metaphor helps uncover the importance of non-visual sensory images
        • Reduces problem of consistency
        • Pays attention to cognitive and emotional sides of the brain
      Application: Account Planning
    • 19.
      • The downsides
        • Respondent fatigue
        • Interviewer must be very experiences
        • Cost, time
        • Matter of opinion
        • Can not change perception
        • No key insight into media channels or different sets of buyers
        • Does not offer perceptions on brands relative to competitors
      Application: Account Planning
    • 20. Application: Account Planning
    • 21. Application: Account Planning
    • 22. Application: Account Planning
    • 23.
      • Effective form, but costly and time-consuming
      • Limited to amount of data collection
      • Companies are starting to see the importance of visual over verbal stimulants
      Takeaways
    • 24.
      • As an account planner, would you suggest the ZMET technique to your team over a focus group?
      • Are there any products or services you can think of that would not benefit from the ZMET?
      Discussion