How Agencies Can Use Mobile Ethnography to Win

Category : Mobile Ethnography

We’ve been working more and more with Advertising and Media Agencies over the past year. Although it’s a new space for us (and Mobile Ethnography in general), and the variety of brands and sectors is diverse, the feedback we get is consistent: the agencies who win are the ones (a) who use real life, in-the-moment insights to get into the culture of the target audience and (b) can bring these insights to life in their pitches using real, resonant voice of customer footage.

At Indeemo, we love helping our clients win.

For our agency clients, this could mean winning in lots of different ways: winning new business, winning at retaining business, winning at expanding their offering beyond just media or winning support for a new project or strategy.

In this post, we would like those of you out there in AgencyLand (what an awesome theme park that would be!) to look at how Mobile Ethnography in general can help you win.

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Agency life in 2019 - it’s all early lunches and late nights isn’t it?

The outsiders view of the average agency is somewhere between an episode of Mad Men and a scene from The Wolf of Wall Street. In reality, it’s more like a cross between a scene from A Beautiful Mind and an episode of the X Factor but with the urgency of ER.

We imagine it as a place where each brief is like a patient smashing through the doors of A&E and the only way to save them is with a big pitch - stat!

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Agency life is fast paced and data led.

It is a constant merry-go-round of understanding consumer culture, behavioural economics and pitching for business.

No matter the type of agency, everyone is looking for an edge, an advantage, that new shiny thing that will bring them success in their next pitch.

This is not just about pitching for new business, this is about pitching strategies and tactics that will resonate with the end client.

Understanding Culture

At Indeemo we work with a host of agencies across the world, helping them to understand their consumers in a richer way and to develop a differentiation in their insight and approach. Utilising Mobile Ethnography is a key component that enriches their data and insights arsenal.

The agencies we work with have all types of focus - insights, strategy, design, UX, CX, shopper, media and digital - all kinds. Each agency has it’s own motivation for using Mobile Ethnography but these are some of the core expertise of our partners.

The agencies we support utilise Mobile Ethnography as an agile way to understand the culture of the target audience. It could be a specific behaviour, a day in the life or an urgent need to bring quant driven personas or segmentations to life.

Our key partners view Indeemo as a “pop up research” solution: agile, scrappy, easy to deploy and inexpensive.

Often, a key insight or hypothesis goes unanswered or worse, answered badly. Our more fastidious partners do not like or accept that. They need to know what really connects with the target audience and Indeemo helps them in situations where limited budgets or tight timelines might otherwise force them into conjecture or poor methodology.

Enrich your Pitch with Small Data

All of our agency partners are looking for an edge when it comes to their pitch strategies. Big Data dominates the current zeitgeist for agency pitches.

The current strategy being - show off your Big Data and present the data in increasingly colourful and sexy visualisations - the better the visual, the better the presentation. Right?

We’re not entirely sure.

Win New Business Agency Pitches using Mobile Ethnography and Big Data + Small Data Indeemo.png
Big Data is no longer the edge, it’s the norm. The businesses who win are the ones who supplement big data with Small Data; i.e. rich, real world, in the moment insights that vitalise the people behind the pie charts.
— Eugene Murphy, CEO Indeemo.

Our learning is that Big Data is no longer the edge. It’s the norm. Everyone is up to their ears in analytics, conversions and churn. The thing is, they’re still struggling to see the people behind the pie charts.

As a result, our partners have started to move towards, and see positive results from, Small Data.

By ‘small data’, we mean rich, deep, human powered insights derived from using in-the-moment Mobile Ethnography.

The Big Data point may well be the spine of their strategy and presentation but the Small Data - the data that shows the micro, the one or the very few - is what enriches the Big Data and brings the audience to life.

By adding authentic, Mobile Ethnography derived data to the pitch, an agency can bring to life the full spectrum of the customer experience in a way that other data and methodologies cannot.


They can show general trends and culture and then switch immediately to a genuine person and their shopping basket on an average Tuesday. When presented correctly, Mobile Ethnographic data illuminates and vitalises Quant Data and brings a strong, resonant sense of everyday life to a pitch or proposal.


In The Moment Insights

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A criticism often levelled at media and marketing agencies is that they do not know about what happens in the moment at the moments that matter: the trigger moment, the moment of need, the moment of purchase and the first moment of experience.

Traditional approaches involved in person observation: watching from a distance in-store or visiting consumers in their every day contexts, This though, can be time-consuming, difficult to organise at scale and incredibly expensive.

With Mobile Ethnography, agencies now have the opportunity to experience those key shopping and consumption moments, at scale and in a cost effective manner.

Our agencies are exceeding the expectations of their clients by using Indeemo to provide smart, up to date, in-store, point-of-purchase data of their shopper’s experience.

Getting beyond the in-store purchase, using our Mobile Screen Recording capability, our agencies are finally able to map a consumer’s omni-channel path to purchase - from trigger to transaction and beyond - into a single cohesive, media rich timeline.

For the first time, brands can now see how their messaging directly affects the shopper both online and offline as well as understanding shoppers’ triggers, motivations, habits and influences - all in one platform.


Agile, Pre-campaign Testing

Once the brief is won and the magic starts to happen, Mobile Ethnography apps can help agencies quickly test, iterate and validate their messaging and their creative.

This helps them de-risk their client’s media investments which in turn drives up the ROI on the ad spend.

Given the fact that the mobile phone is a two way device - a key differentiator for Mobile Ethnography above traditional techniques - Agencies can use it to send content to the participant. Whether it’s a question, an adcept, a concept or content, Mobile Ethnography apps enable agencies to get instant, authentic, in the moment feedback.

Our agencies are now starting to use Indeemo as a pre-campaign testing tool. They send the relevant concept or adcept to a select group and they ask for in-the-moment feedback, opinions and video powered appraisals of their work.

They can instantly see if the concepts resonate with certain segments or in certain areas. Using sequential tasking, we empower agencies to gauge both reaction and recall and quickly iterate their creative to de-risk their campaigns in a cost effective manner.

Experience The Real Customer Journey

Mobile Ethnography goes way beyond reporting what happened; it shows you what is happening now. It helps you walk in the shoes of your customer and experience what they experience.

Think of an agency trying to understand the experience of an airline passenger. With Indeemo, they can follow the journey for all different types of customer: the frequent flyer, the family, the couple etc. They can understand the real journey of the passenger or they can direct them towards a specific journey.

They can witness their passengers’ experiences on the way to the airport, checking in, clearing security, in the lounge or in flight. They can probe into every insight or they can have a hands off observational approach.

Using Mobile Ethnography to help Agencies understand the customer journey research.png


Mobile Ethnography gives Researchers and Strategists a periscope into the real lives of the target audience.

Agencies can therefore get a richer understanding of the consumer than the client ever could. Moving beyond urgency of the “we need a pitch stat”, Mobile Ethnography has the power to give agencies an ongoing, year round lens into consumer behaviours in a cost effective manner.

This longitudinal, always on capability also has the capacity to move agencies from adhoc commissions to long term retainers. This is already transforming the revenue models of some of our agency clients.

Longitudinal Mobile Ethnography helps Agencies offer their clients an always-on, context, consumer connection. Agencies now have the ability to look at seasonality, to understand event based changes, to monitor the impact of campaigns and all sorts of different scenarios over the course of a year; without breaking the bank.


Planning is Everything

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The secret to winning with Mobile Ethnography is planning ahead.

That brief that lands on a Thursday and demands a winning pitch the following Friday is an all too common occurrence. It amazes us how brands with multi million dollar budgets still give Agencies mere days to come up with winning strategies.

The late nights, the working weekends. The frantic need to get everything sorted ASAP is the short sighted constraint that most agencies have to work within.

Traditionally this time pressure limited the tools and techniques that Agencies could deploy to gather rich, real life insights to inform their pitches.

This left them relying on secondary research and industry trends to underpin their strategies. Until now that is.

Given the speed and agility of Mobile Ethnography, Agencies can now capture real, ethnographic, in the moment insights in days instead of weeks. We’ve supported lots of quick turnaround pitches. We can help you get ahead of your competition and prepare in advance for the next pitch. But to be able to quickly activate Mobile Ethnography when that briefs lands, you need to start planning now.

This is where our Strategists can help.


Keep Calm and Win that Pitch

We are constantly delivering new strategies that help our agency partners win.

Our strategists work hand in hand with our Agency contacts to bring Mobile Ethnography powered, in-the-moment insights to their work and to their approach. The Agencies who are winning tell us that Mobile Ethnography is transforming how they can understand consumers and culture in today’s always on, hyper connected, ever-changing world.

Our strategists will help you pre-plan different Mobile Ethnographic approaches and strategies that cater for your most frequent pitch scenarios: that quick turnaround bronze pitch, the 1-2 week silver pitch or the Adage leading, revenue transforming platinum pitch.

Our strategies and frameworks enable Agencies to plan ahead and quickly activate a Mobile Ethnographic approach that caters for every pitch scenario.

By combining authentic recruitment and quick to deploy ethnographic approaches, we pre-arm you with the strategies (and their associated costings) to ensure that when that next brief bursts through the doors of your Agency’s “ER”, you will keep calm and win that pitch.

Tag : Mobile Qualitative Research

Contact us

Mobile Ethnography is a rich, agile way to get a deeper understanding of participants everyday lives and behaviours.

Projects can range from a few days to as long as a year but are typically 1 to 2 weeks in duration.

After analysing the engagement on hundreds of projects, we’re have learned a lot about how to optimise research for mobile and can activate your Mobile Ethnography projects in as little as one working day.

If you’d like to discuss your project and explore suggestions about how we might be able to support your research, please submit your details here and we will get back to you right away.

We’re looking forward to speaking with you.

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