Testing methods go beyond observation and tracking methods as they attempt to test how customers react to different changes. Customer trade-off analysis allows tests for changes in, for example, product features and price. New product features can be tested on their own as well as in relation to different levels of price. Results from trade-off analysis can provide an understanding of the level of importance or impact a particular change is likely to have on customer preferences (Best, 2005). Another method is multidimensional scaling, which can be used to test how customers perceive the competitive position of a product relative to competing products and substitute products (Best, 2005). With experimental design, the impact of different marketing effects can be tested. For example, a change in product or price can be done and results can be compared to a control group that is not exposed to the experimental effect. Experimental design can be used to evaluate the potential impact of changes in any parts of the marketing mix; i.e., in product, price, promotion, and/or place (Best, 2005).
Best, R.J. 2005. Market-Based Management: Strategies for Growing Customer Value and Profitability. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall.