Stated versus Derived Importance in Key Driver Analysis During Usage & Attitude Research

Stated versus Derived Importance in Key Driver Analysis During Usage & Attitude Research

When conducting a key drivers analysis for your building products company, it’s helpful to know what factors often drive customers’ decision-making and bring any assumptions up for validation or debunking. And be sure to get detailed. “Durable” is generic, but “Last 10 years without repair” will provide you with deeper insights and recommendations.

Establishing customer priorities is a critical part of evaluating how features or attributes impact preference, how your product meets those factors, and identifying areas for improvement. Knowing what things are and aren’t important to your customers enables you to better allocate your resources when working to enhance your brand image and increase market share.

Customer priorities are generally divided into four categories in terms of how they contribute to product selection. These include: High impact, value added, minimum requirements and unimportant.

In order to know definitively where various priorities fall, you must gather customer feedback to conduct a key drivers analysis and establish benchmarks for your current brand image.

What is a Key Drivers Analysis for Market Research?

A key drivers analysis (KDA) examines what triggers people to take specific actions, or the relationships between potential drivers and customer behaviors.

In terms of product or brand selection, a key drivers analysis will help you identify what motivates customers to choose your products instead of your competitors’. 

  • Is it the range of products you provide? 
  • How you package and/or go-to-market?
  • Your price point? 
  • Specific product features and benefits?
  • Where and how you distribute product installation and maintenance information? 
  • The support you provide to channel sales partners representatives at distribution sites and home improvement centers?
  • The support and services you provide for wholesale accounts with professionals?

On the flip side, there also may be things that negatively impact your brand image or motivate prospective customers to make other selections. Recognizing those poor purchase drivers with your product offering is just as important as recognizing the positive purchase drivers.

Typically, you collect this information from existing and prospective customers through quantitative usage and attitude (U&A) surveys. You then use this data to categorize customer priorities and make adjustments within your company.

What is the Difference Between Stated and Derived Importance?

There are two main measurements you can make when conducting a key drivers analysis: stated importance and derived importance.

As the name implies, stated importance is measured through direct questions and rating mechanisms. For example, if you want to know how customers feel about your price point, you would pose questions that ask them to rate this factor on a scale of 0 to 10 or with an explicit level of importance (from “very important” to “not at all important”). You might also ask survey respondents to list factors that influenced their decision in order of importance. All of these approaches are straightforward and direct, giving you a fairly simple and quick way to get data for analysis.

Derived importance, on the other hand, is less direct and involves more complex methods and analytics. You can use discrete choice methods such as Maximum Difference Scaling (MaxDiff) that force the respondents to make trade-offs on what’s more important, which result in a hierarchy of needs.  You can also collect brand or product performance ratings and conduct a correlation analysis to understand which factors are impacting overall satisfaction.

What is the Purpose of Derived Importance in Market Research

This raises the question: If you can ask direct questions to measure stated importance, what is the purpose of derived importance? It all comes down to getting a more complete story from your data.

While the hope is that respondents understand what truly motivated their purchase in a U&A survey, that’s not always the case. Sometimes customers will state certain factors that may be generic (quality, price, durable), politically correct (Made in the U.S.A.), or simply top of mind (“it was available”). 

It’s important to understand these Stated factors impacting purchase decisions, but it’s often what customers believe to be true.  However, Derived will uncover factors less top of mind and more subconscious that the customer may have forgotten about or when forced to trade one for the other might choose differently.

A derived importance approach allows you to see what underlying elements are leading to selection and satisfaction, without being influenced by the nature of the questions.

This provides more complex insight into the factors that are driving positive, as well as negative, responses to your brand or product. From there, you’ll better understand how to categorize various factors in terms of importance when making decisions to improve brand health and awareness.

Results also drive decisions on resources to allocate to Product Development.  It could be that one feature is not important to customers, so with that information, your company would save on manufacturing costs. Understanding the results from Key Driver Analysis directly affects Sales and Marketing initiatives as well. It could be that your company has all the important factors that drive product selection, but that reality is unclear in marketing and sales materials.

What are Key Drivers in the Home Improvement Industry?

When conducting a key drivers analysis for your building products company, it’s helpful to know what factors often drive customers’ decision-making and bring any assumptions up for validation or debunking. And be sure to get detailed.  “Durable” is generic, but “Last 10 years without repair” will provide you with deeper insights and recommendations.

There are specific product selection factors unique to each product category, so it is to your benefit to utilize an industry expert that can see beyond your company’s internal assumptions to ensure you’re correctly assessing detailed factors that impact your customer’s experience.  

You would want to be more specific in your research objectives, but some general factors to consider testing include:

  • Availability (where and how customers can purchase your products, both in-store and online)
  • Ease of job site procurement
  • Pricing - high, competitive, low
  • Variety and/or diversity of product selection
  • Ease of use/ease of installation
  • Durability/ease of maintenance
  • Packaging appeal
  • Cutting-edge technology
  • Regional suitability in terms of climate, natural hazards, local architecture, etc.

Also, keep in mind that professionals may be driven by a slightly different set of factors than DIYers. For example, a homeowner would appreciate that they can buy a single product for a reasonable price, because they don’t need duplicates, whereas certain trade professionals could desire the ability to purchase products in bulk and have it delivered to a job site, or various job sites. Understanding these nuances is important when developing surveys that target different demographics and getting the best feedback from them.

Conducting Research to Understand Product Selection Drivers

Commissioning customized market research gives you detailed, and accurate product selection drivers specific to brand or product. With this concrete data, you can ensure you’re putting your resources into the areas that matter the most for improving product preference and satisfaction. 

At The Farnsworth Group we know that you want to be the preferred brand in your product category. In order to do that, you need concrete information to understand how your brand is perceived. 

The problem is it’s easier to rely on assumptions or old data to inform today’s decisions. We understand the nuances of DIY versus PRO buyers which is why we only conduct research for the building products, home improvement, and lawn and ranch sectors. 

Book a consultation where we can help you identify the right questions you and your team need to answer. And in the meantime, take lightly your brand’s assumptions so you can stop repeating the strategies of yesterday and instead meet customers where they are in their purchase needs today.