January 18, 2011
Aside from my work with product strategists, I’m also a quant geek. For much of my career, I’ve written surveys (to study both consumers and businesses) to delve deeply into demand-side behaviors, attitudes, and needs. For my first couple of years at Forrester, I actually spent 100% of my time helping clients with custom research projects that employed data and advanced analytics to help drive their business strategies.
These days, I use those quantitative research tools to help product strategists build winning product strategies. I have two favorite analytical approaches: my second favorite is segmentation analysis, which is an important tool for product strategists. But my very favorite tool for product strategists is conjoint analysis. If you, as a product strategist, don’t currently use conjoint, I’d like you to spend some time learning about it.
Why? Because conjoint analysis should be in every product strategist’s toolkit. Also known as feature tradeoff analysis or discrete choice, conjoint analysis can help you choose the right features for a product, determine which features will drive demand, and model pricing for the product in a very sophisticated way. It’s the gold standard for price elasticity analysis, and it offers extremely actionable advice on product design. It helps address each of “the four Ps” that inform product strategies.
Conjoint isn’t a panacea – it’s harder to use for entirely new product categories than for existing ones. And its results need to be embedded in a larger, more strategic approach; conjoint itself can be rather tactical. But overall, it’s a tool that every product strategist should employ in his or her career. I invite Forrester clients to read the entire report here. Then let us know if you already use conjoint to help build a better product strategy, or if you’d like to learn more about how to do so.