Assessing the Value of Product Attributes: Deciphering Consumer Preferences

In the dynamic landscape of product development, understanding the value of various attributes is paramount. Whether you’re launching a new product, enhancing an existing one, or refining production methods, understanding the intricacies of product and service attributes can unlock pathways to success. In this blog post, we’ll explore the essentials of product development, delve into the intricacies of product attributes, and uncover the power of conjoint analysis in optimizing offerings. 

At its core, product development encompasses the creation of new products, the improvement of existing offerings, and the refinement of production processes. It’s about driving change and improvement, whether through introducing modifications or entirely new innovations. 

Product attributes are the specific characteristics or features that define a product or service. They can be categorized into tangible attributes, such as physical characteristics, and intangible attributes, which encompass perceived value and overall experience. Examples include the product’s name, brand, price, size, and custom features. 

Assessing the Value of Product Attributes 

Market research serves as a foundational pillar in understanding the significance of product attributes. Here are some techniques to consider: 

  • Survey Research: Utilizing both quantitative and qualitative surveys allows businesses to directly ask customers about their preferences regarding product attributes. This method provides structured data that can be analyzed to identify trends and patterns. 
  • Text Mining or Product Reviews: Analyzing customer feedback, whether through product reviews or social media mentions, offers a wealth of qualitative data. By leveraging natural language processing techniques, businesses can extract valuable insights from unstructured text data. 
  • Product Comparison: Comparing similar products in the market provides a benchmark for understanding which attributes resonate most with consumers. By identifying key differentiators, businesses can tailor their offerings to meet customer needs more effectively. 
  • Using Product Attributes Directly: Analyzing customer search behavior can reveal which product attributes are most sought after. By understanding what customers are actively looking for, businesses can prioritize these attributes in their product development efforts. 

Once your data is collected, conjoint analysis stands out as a powerful tool for deciphering customer preferences and decision-making processes.  

Unveiling the Power of Conjoint Analysis 

Conjoint analysis is a sophisticated market research technique that offers unparalleled insights into consumer preferences and decision-making processes. By presenting respondents with different combinations of product attributes and analyzing their choices, businesses can gain a deep understanding of the value customers place on each attribute. Common types of conjoint analysis include:  

  • Choice-Based Conjoint (CBC): This is the most common form of conjoint analysis, where respondents are asked to choose their preferred product from a set of alternatives. By analyzing these choices, businesses can determine the relative importance of different attributes and their impact on decision-making. 
  • Adaptive Conjoint: This method customizes the survey experience for each respondent based on their previous answers, allowing for a more personalized analysis of preferences. By adapting the survey flow in real-time, businesses can gather more accurate and nuanced insights. 
  • Full Profile Conjoint: In this approach, respondents are presented with detailed product descriptions that include multiple attributes. By evaluating these full profiles, businesses can understand how different combinations of attributes influence overall product preference. 
  • MaxDiff Conjoint: Instead of asking respondents to choose their preferred product, this method presents them with sets of attributes and asks them to indicate which ones are most and least important. By ranking attributes in this way, businesses can identify the key drivers of preference. 

Case Study: Optimizing Lab Instrument Features and Pricing 

Let’s explore a real-world example to illustrate the practical application of conjoint analysis in optimizing product features and pricing strategies. 


A prominent life science company was poised to introduce a groundbreaking lab instrument to the market. This innovative instrument promised breakthrough capabilities in analyzing complex biomolecules and compounds. However, the company faced critical questions regarding the ideal combination of features and pricing strategies that would maximize customer preference, market share, and profitability. 

Methodology (Conjoint Analysis) 

  • Attribute Selection: Key factors affecting customer decisions were identified, including mass resolution, sensitivity, scan speed, ease of use, and mass accuracy. 
  • Attribute Levels and Pricing Scenarios: Different levels for each factor were defined, and various pricing points were assigned to attribute profiles to capture customer willingness to pay. 
  • Data Collection: Surveys were distributed to relevant organizations and job positions across North America, Europe, and China, targeting those primarily involved in research, analytical development, process development, or QA/QC. 
  • Data Analysis: Advanced statistical analysis was employed to decipher utility values of attributes and pricing, gauging perceived value and preference among respondents. 

Insights and Impact 

Through the rigorous application of conjoint analysis, the life science company gained valuable insights into customer preferences and price sensitivity. They discovered that high sensitivity was consistently a top priority for researchers focused on specific types of analysis. Additionally, certain customer segments exhibited greater price sensitivity, highlighting the importance of affordability. 

Armed with these insights, the company was able to craft a lab instrument tailored to customer preferences, strategically price it to reflect the value attributed to specific features and position it as a high-value solution in the marketplace. By leveraging conjoint analysis, they not only optimized their product offering but also gained a competitive edge in the industry. 

Recap: Pros and Cons of Conjoint Analysis 

While conjoint analysis offers numerous benefits, including segment-specific insights and cost-effectiveness, it also presents challenges such as complexity in design and potential measurement errors. Understanding these pros and cons is essential in harnessing the full potential of this methodology and driving informed decision-making in product development and marketing strategies.  

Need help decoding what your customers really want in terms of product and service attributes? Our expert market researchers are here to lend a hand! Contact us today to get started.