There are many reasons why marketers want to go beyond an understanding of what consumers do and also understand why they do it. It is particularly useful to understand 1) what product and brand attributes drive customer purchase and loyalty (product performance, reliability, brand status, price, etc.) and 2) how do consumers rank the products of your company and your competitors on these characteristics? Clearly, an understanding of these factors would allow companies to:

It is sometimes possible to infer motivations from customer behavior. But in many cases the use of traditional market research (i.e., surveys) can provide greater insight into the motivation of customers. There are two specific types of market research that I will discuss: attribute importance and performance scores, and trade-off analysis. Attribute importance and performance scores are obtained using straightforward consumer surveys. Respondents are asked about a list of product or brand attributes and provide feedback about the importance of each attribute in their buying decision and their perception of how each product or brand performs against these attributes. Typical results of this research are shown Figure 1.

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