Previously we claimed that people fly Porter primarily because of convenience and not chicness. Also, we recommended that you could force your customers to trade off attributes so that you can find what they genuinely want. Let’s dive a little deeper and see how smart guys at Bain & Company can help you.
If there aren’t any trade-offs, virtually every attribute could be deemed as critical. Take airlines for instance. How important are direct flights? The answer is “Very important.” How about having leather seats. “Of course.” Would you like to have free wifi? “Duh!”
Let’s take a step back and try to evaluate how helpful this exercise was? Not much, huh? Now, how about asking customers to rate attributes on a scale of 1-to-5? Oddly enough, that won’t be much more useful either, for customers usually mark pretty much everything as a 4 or 5.
If your goal is to figure out what your customers truly want, then Bain & Co says that you should use the research technique called “MaxDiff.” Without going into too many technical details, let’s explain what you should do.
First, come up with a long list of product or brand attributes-things that typically represent a potential benefit. (For the olive oil, it could be colour, viscosity, taste, packaging, shape of the bottle, name, etc.)
Then, show participants a set of four attributes and ask them to select two qualities: the one they prefer the most and the one they prefer the least.
Finally, continue showing random combinations of four attributes to identify the most and least important ones. This technique is highly effective because by forcing your customers to trade-off attributes; you discover which quality is the most important, which one is the second most important etc. (If you want to learn more, watch this presentation by Bain. If you are a researcher looking for more, then read this article.)
Going back to Porter Airlines, we speculated that whatever the case may be, convenience would come first, followed by price, on-time flights, and (maybe) chicness. If anyone from Porter is reading this article and decides to conduct a “Maxdiff,” please feel free to share your results.
Today’s actionable tip: Use MaxDiff to figure out what do your customers really want.