Does your market research supplier offer a conjoint product? I hope not. #MRX

FactorAnalysis ConceptualModel DotsRings

If you visit the website of any market research company, large or small, full service or end service, you’ll find an array of product offerings.

Below you see the product offerings from two different companies. Company A gives an impressive list of everything from conjoint to perceptual mapping. Any company offering these products is sure to be able to meet all of your market research needs, whatever they may be. Company B also provides an impressive list of offerings ranging from In Home Usage Testing to sales forecasting. This too is a company that I know will be able to meet whatever needs I may have.

Product offerings: Company A

  • Conjoint analysis
  • Factor analysis
  • Cluster analysis
  • Maximum difference scaling
  • Perceptual mapping
Product offerings: Company B

  • IHUT
  • Package design
  • Simulated shopping
  • Concept testing
  • Media testing
  • Competitive analysis
  • Pricing analysis
  • Sales forecasting

But really, only one of these companies appeals to me and it’s not Company A. Clearly, Company A has licensed a copy of SPSS or SAS for every one of their employees and that does impress me. But it’s clear that those employees are number crunchers and data processors and that’s really not what I’m looking for. You see, conjoint isn’t a product. Factor analysis isn’t a product. Maximum difference scaling isn’t a product. Those are buttons you press in SPSS.

The company I AM interested in Company B. They clearly know that clients aren’t looking for a really cool conjoint analysis or a wickedly awesome factor analysis. I seriously couldn’t care less if a supplier offered conjoint. What clients actually need is guidance on pricing decisions, package evaluations, and concept preferences.

You see, anyone can press a button in SPSS and generate pages and pages of output. But to actually apply those results to a meaningful business decision, well that’s a separate story.

3 responses

  1. I really agree. I’ve tried very hard not to put a menu of specific data analysis types on our website because that is NOT what should be delivered. Of course, those should be listed somewhere on the website so people know what you do and use (or so they know you’re at least using SPSS/SAS as you put it), but they should be listed in a different context, say, “Methodologies Used.”

  2. I find that agencies that advice against using Conjoint don’t know how to use it. They can do it alright, but they haven’t the slightes idea how to use it appropriately, they don’t know how to generate insights from it. Sure, clients don’t need methods, they need guidance, insight,… I am afraid of MR agencies who reject any method per se.

  3. The company that would really impress me would be the one, that on top of presenting what company B did, will usually advise clients against using conjoint – clients tend to love asking for that model (for some reason, they think it makes them sound sophisticated), and it is a wonderful tool when appropriate and used correctly, but more often than not it carries the risk of misleading in its results.

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