Well, no, that’s a palaeontologist. Anthropology is actually the study of culture and people, and observing how they behave in their daily lives including the challenges they face. It’s a discipline that’s often misunderstood, and many people don’t realise that it has many practical applications – especially in a business context. Because fundamentally, businesses are about relationships, and about solving people’s problems.
Because Demographica is a B2B marketing agency, people have always been at the heart of our direct communication. This is why we often refer to what we do as B2H (Business-to-Human) marketing. That’s also why Demographica employs a team of up
to 10 anthropologists to be involved in both the research process and THE design of our campaign creatives.
While the advertising world is often dominated by psychology, I believe that there are many benefits to using anthropology in B2B marketing:
To illustrate how this works, we often use the example of a major brewing company in Europe in 2006 that was facing diminishing sales in bars and pubs, even though it’s product was well liked and store sales were up. The brewing company had conducted all the usual types of research and nothing helpful had emerged so instead, they sent a team of social anthropologists into bars and pubs to see what they could unearth.
After analysing hours of video, photographs, and field notes, it emerged that bar owners placed no value on the promotional material they were being supplied and that it often ended up being thrown away. They also found that female servers felt trapped in their jobs and resented having to be flirtatious with patrons, plus they knew little about the product they were supposed to be promoting.
This led to a shift in how the brewing company created promotional material for pubs – they began to customise what they did for each bar and bar owner. It also created in- workplace “academies” which trained staff, as well as winning over female staff by offering them free taxi services home after late shifts. The results were astounding and led to a massive increase in sales over the next two years, and an increase in market share.
In this way, anthropology discovered the real reasons the brewing company faced decreasing sales. The reality is that the gap between what we produce and what we consume is getting smaller by the day. Anthropology can help you bridge that gap more