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Inside Track

Savvy ideas to boost sales

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This story appears in the August 1996 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

It's not that demographics are passé-far from it. But a different kind of market research-the use of anthropologists and sociologists to analyze customer thoughts and behaviors-is making waves these days.

Nontraditional market research enlists anthropologists or sociologists to interview your customers, helping you hone future marketing campaigns. Why is the concept taking hold? Because business owners need to know why consumers buy what they do and how much they're willing to pay. "It provides deeper insights into the mind of the customer," explains Gerald Zaltman, a professor of business administration at Harvard Business School in Boston who studies the whys of consumer behavior.

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