Purchase decisions are a complicated process for consumers. We'll use market research techniques to help you understand the factors that drive decisions...

For the average consumer, there are multiple factors that are taken into consideration when making purchase decisions.  One of the most important one is usually the brand.  But how much sway does a brand name have on a purchase decision?  And what are the other factors that influence the decision?  There’s a powerful way to find this out, it’s called conjoint analysis.

Conjoint analysis identifies many things.  It allows market researchers to measure how much value people place on specific product or brand features when making decisions, such as the influence of brand name, price, the product specifications, etc. 

For example, say we are interested in knowing how much influence different brand names of TVs have on the purchase decision.  Features (attributes) such as brand name, screen size, screen resolution, number of HDMI inputs, and especially price are measured against each other.  This is done by presenting various product mixes and asking the survey participant to pick which one they prefer most.  After selecting the best option, another similar scenario is presented with a slightly different mix, and then another one after that and so on.

Conjoint

After several different scenarios have been presented we are able to determine how loyal consumers are to a certain brand, even if an inferior package at a higher price is offered.  Additionally conjoint analysis will also tell us the “best mix” of product features that should be included in the development of the product or service, or in the case of a marketing plan, what features should be highlighted in advertisements and promotional materials associated with the product.  Do you want to focus on the brand name in the ads because of the brands strength, or should the emphasis be on a particular feature?  Conjoint analysis will answer this question.  

There are several types of conjoint analysis that we can use depending on the objectives of the research such as choice-based, adaptive, or full-profile.  If the focus is more on features rather than brand strength, max-diff scaling may be the best option.  While not technically conjoint analysis, max-diff scaling is a technique similar to conjoint analysis that is based on comparative judgments which allows for greater discrimination between the items and the ability to scale based on importance.

Whether your objective is identifying the strength of a brand or determining which features are most important to highlight in an upcoming advertising campaign, conjoint analysis will enable you to make the best decision.  

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