Brands invest all sorts of time, money, and resources to make sure they stand out from the competition. To do this they need to make sure they’re not only meeting consumer needs, but that they’re meeting those needs better than anyone else. They make these investments in consumer needs because they want to build equity in a crowded and competitive marketplace.
In other words, every brand wants to be important to consumers by giving consumers what is most important to them.
There are four essential reasons why any smart brand would want to understand what is important to consumers:
Businesses can profit by determining exactly what features, benefits, and applications their customers value the most. Too often, these needs are not being satisfied. Sometimes businesses aim to meet those needs and they fall short. Other times, no one spots those needs at all. In each case, there is an exploitable market opportunity. Marketers and product developers often refer to these unmet needs as “white space.”
Most companies are cost-constrained so they cannot meet EVERY need when designing, launching, or refreshing a product. Measuring importance helps these companies identify and focus their energy on features and benefits that will matter most to their customers (i.e., the things people will base their brand choices on or will be willing to pay more for).
A company should focus on promoting your product’s strengths that consumers care about the most. You might make the most comfortable pair of shoes in the world, for example, but if your research finds that people primarily buy your shoes because they look cool, then you may not want to center your marketing messages on your shoe’s ergonomics.
A company might have done its homework and launched products influenced by the first three points above. But trends, tastes, and expectations change. What was in vogue two years ago may not be as relevant today. Measuring importance can be a sanity check to help businesses understand what they’re doing well and what they should be doing better.
In general, there are two broad classes of importance measurement approaches: stated importance methods and derived importance methods. Stated methods examine what people say they care about the most, while derived methods infer what is important based on statistical relationships between brand traits and consumer perceptions or purchase behaviors.
For stated importance methods, you can use techniques like ratings, rankings, constrained pick lists, and more. For derived importance methods, you might use conjoint modeling or market-deduced techniques. As researchers evaluate which measurements best apply to their work, it helps to understand all the individual techniques and their best use cases, as well as their objective strengths and weaknesses.
Which measurement techniques will give you the best insight into what matters most to YOUR customers? Download our e-book, “Measuring Key Drivers of Consumer Decision Making.”