Conjoint Method(and trade-off analysis)
Conjoint analysis is a quantitative method for assessing the strength of people’s preference for certain product attributes and/or attribute combinations. It is generally thought of as a high level, late stage investigation used to forecast consumer reactions to various product versions.
The rating of product attributes can be based on both presentation of actual products or prototypes or on based on pictures, mock-ups and written descriptions. A selection of attributes (features) is selected for rating by potential users. Digital cameras, for instance, could be rated by attributes like capability regarding zoom, pixels and water resistance. Customer feedback is treated statistically and converted to a metric of desirability (utility). Desirability is calculated for different potential product offerings consisting of various combinations of attributes. Normally the desirability score of single attribute levels, for instance ‘zoom, x3’, is calculated as an average of the desirability obtained by this attribute level at all attribute combinations. Conjoint analysis is often referred to as trade-off analysis because it seeks to measure the people’s willingness to trade-off certain product attributes for other product attributes (at various price points).
As innovation methodology, the problem with conjoint analysis is the predefined sets of product attributes. There is no exploration of unknown attributes, of context of use or of peoples ideas about the results that they wish to obtain with the products. The advantage, on the other hand, is that conjoint analysis is quite precise, systematic and well suited for generating representative results. Used under the right circumstances and for the right purposes, it can be a very powerful tool.
Fenger, A., Eerikäinen, J., Stø, E., Sjöberg, K., & Brønnum, M. (2006). Innovation og forbrugerkvalitet. København: TemaNord.
Kahn, K. B. (2006). New product forecasting: An applied approach. Armonk, NY: Sharpe.
Orme, B. (2005). Getting started with conjoint analysis. Madison, WI: Research Publishers.