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How did consumer research change during the period referred to as demassification? Describe what is meant by the term demassification, and explain two examples of methods consumer researchers engaged in post-1990. In what specific ways are these methods more informative than prior methods of consumer research?

Demassification is the process by which small, diverse groups break apart from a larger, homogenous group. This process affects target audiences and messages in marketing, and therefore also affects consumer researchers, who now apply tools like surveys, interviews, and observation to smaller, more targeted groups of people.

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To help you get started on this assignment, let's reflect on demassification. We'll begin by defining demassification. This is the process by which a large, homogenous group is broken down into smaller, more diverse groups according to their shared characteristics.

Demassification has affected many different areas. Advertisers, for instance, focus more on target audiences, particular groups of people, rather than the broad scope of society. Messages concentrate on promoting individuality and standing out from the crowd as well as personal development and diversity.

Consumer researchers have also had to change their techniques due to demassification and the alterations it has brought to the world of marketing. No longer can researchers focus on “consumers” as a whole, for they recognize that consumers are individuals who are often vastly different from one another. Consumer researchers use many of the same tools they used before demassification, including surveys, interviews, and consumer observation, but they use them in different ways.

Surveys, for instance, are much more targeted toward particular groups of consumers. For instance, on survey sites used for marketing research, survey takers must qualify for surveys by answering questions about their location, socioeconomic status, profession, etc. Researchers are looking for survey groups with particular characteristics rather than a broad range of people. This is the result of demassification.

The same ideas apply to interviews and consumer observation. Researchers now target specific groups with specific characteristics to interview or observe. They talk to and watch some people but not others according to their research goals.

What's more, consumer researchers have began using more focus groups, which are specifically chosen groups of people who participate in in-depth conversations about their consumer activities. Participants are generally not chosen from the broad spectrum of consumers. Rather, they are selected based on desired characteristics. Again, we can see the effects of demassification here.

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