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It's not that demographics are passé-far from it. But adifferent kind of market research-the use of anthropologists andsociologists to analyze customer thoughts and behaviors-is makingwaves these days.

Nontraditional market research enlists anthropologists orsociologists to interview your customers, helping you hone futuremarketing campaigns. Why is the concept taking hold? Becausebusiness owners need to know why consumers buy what they do and howmuch they're willing to pay. "It provides deeper insightsinto the mind of the customer," explains Gerald Zaltman, aprofessor of business administration at Harvard Business School inBoston who studies the whys of consumer behavior.

Zaltman knows whereof he speaks. Among other research forclients, he's discovered exactly how women feel aboutpantyhose. He asked respondents to bring him pictures thatrepresented their feelings about pantyhose. (According to Zaltman,it turns out they have a "like-hate" relationship withthe oft-slandered legwear.)

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