“Despite the resources spent on market
research, nearly 80% of all new offerings
fail. The pattern is predictable:
Customers say they want something,
companies create it, and once it’s
available, customers don’t buy it. Why?
Is it because customers just don’t know
what they want? (Zaltman 2003)”
Zaltman concludes that at some level,
customers do know what they want, but
marketing’s most overused tools such as
surveys, questionnaires, and focus
groups and conventional thinking don’t
dig deeply enough to help customers
discover and express what they want.
Zaltman argues that 95% of thinkingZaltman argues that 95% of thinking
happens in our unconscious.happens in our unconscious.
“One cannot reduce the explanation of
human behavior to any narrowly
circumscribed and simplistic model,
whether that model is behaviorist or
psychoanalytic, ethological or
anthropomorphic, cognitive or
motivational: the behavior of people in
general and of consumers in particular is
the fascinating and endlessly complex
result of a multifaceted interaction
between organism and environment
(Holbrook and Hirschman 1982).”
Qualitative researchQualitative research consists of interpretive,
material practices that make the world visible.
These practices turn the world into a series of
representations, including field notes,
interviews, conversations, photographs,
recordings and memos to the self.
This means that qualitative research study things
in their natural setting, attempting to make
sense of, or to interpret phenomena in terms of
the meanings people bring to them(Denzin and
Qualitative Research is an interdisciplinary
field (ethnography in anthropology, sociology;
cultural studies; communication; textual,
hermeneutics, feminist, psychoanalytic,
semiotic, narrative analysis in literary studies;
archival, material culture, historical, and
document analysis in history, biography, and
archeology; discourse and conversational
analysis in medicine, communications, and
Qualitative Researchers give emphasis on
using multiple methods together.
Some call qualitative researchers softSome call qualitative researchers soft
scientists. Their work is termedscientists. Their work is termed
unscientific,unscientific, onlyonly exploratory, orexploratory, or
The word qualitative implies an emphasis on the
qualities of entities and on processes and
meanings that are not experimentally examined
or measured in terms of quantity, amount,
intensity, or frequency.
They seek answers to questions that stress how
social experience is created and given
meaning. In contrast, quantitative studies
emphasize the measurement and analysis of
causal relationships between variables, not
processes. (Denzin and Lincoln 2000).
Mick (1986) suggests that the complex
human environment will not permit us to
arrive at the truth; there can be multiple
reality or multiple representations.
Thus, the process of understanding is aThus, the process of understanding is a
never-ending process…never-ending process…
Thoughts occurs as pattern of neural activity, not
Most human meaning is exchanged nonverbally.
Much cognition is embodied.
Emotion and reason are equally important.
Emotion and learning occur without awareness.
Cognitions (process of thought) are socially
ZMET is a hybrid methodology grounded in
various domains, including verbal and nonverbal
communication, visual sociology, visual
anthropology, literary criticism, semiotics, mental
imagery, cognitive neuroscience and phototherapy
The method involves semi-structured, in-depth
personal interviews centered on visual images
that the informant brings to the interview (Coulter
Validation studies of ZMET applications indicate
that 4 to 5 depth interviews that are focused on
identifying and understanding core themes can
prov,de to 90% of the information avaliable from a
large set of interviews (Zaltman and Coulter
A Metaphor is the representation of one thing in
terms of an other (Lakoff and Johnson 1980).
Metaphor is central to thought.
Image based methaphors:
◦ Visual images participants bring to the interview
◦ Sensory images they discuss
◦ Digital images they create
“Please tell me how this image relates to your
thoughts and feeling about your .... Experience.”
“Were there any thoughts and feelings you for
which you were unable to find an image? Please
describe the thought or feeling, and tell me about
an image that you use to represent the thought or
Metaphor probe / expand the frame:
“If you could widen the frame of this picture in all
directions, what else would I see that would help
me to better understand your thoughts and
feelings about ... and the role they play in your
“What sound could I hear that would represent
your thoughts and feelings about ... they play in
Sound / color / taste / smell / touch
“I would like you to use your imagination to create
a short story. The story should express your
thoughts and feelings about ... and the role they
play in your life. Please include at least 3
characters: You, “X”, and a similar type of –
product / service – you might enjoy.”
The informant with the skilled assistance of a
computer graphics imager, creates a summary
collage using his images and supplemental
images from a database, as needed.
What is missed in one step (technique) can be
cought with the next one.