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Choosing the right product features through research

2 min read
Find out which features your customers truly value, and which ones matter more than others

Customer needs analysis

Ideally, your product’s features should be a direct reflection of your customers’ requirements, since it’s your customers who will determine the product’s success or failure.

A powerful method for assessing what customers truly want in a product is Means-end analysis. Delivered via a survey, this method begins by gathering information about a customer’s purchasing decisions.

A Means-end survey will gather responses on subjects like price, perceived value and performance expectations. It can also begin the exploration of deeper-level benefits like status, trust, and your brand’s congruence with a customer’s personal values.

Depending on the depth of your study, you may choose to include survey questions on:

  • Usage context – this is highly valuable for marketing and advertising, as well as feature research. It includes the physical location, as well as the ‘mode’ your customer is in when using the product (relaxing, socialising, working etc)
  • Top of mind imaging – a snapshot of the customer’s positive and negative associations with the product concept and your brand, along with the reasons they give you for those associations.
  • Product category – placing the product in context with its competition. This can be achieved by asking the respondent to group similar and dissimilar choices together, or by asking them to consider substitution of one brand or product for another, and note which features make a product more or less ‘swappable’. This process could also form part of your competitor analysis program

Find the key drivers behind product satisfaction

By understanding the factors that underpin buying decisions, and noting why the customer finds them important, you can begin to unearth the key drivers of product quality.

Key drivers are the factors that contribute to an outcome – for example, taste, freshness and quality of ingredients could all be key drivers of a customer’s satisfaction with a food product. If you are new to feature testing, try our free product feature testing template.

Qualtrics offers analysis tools such as iQ, which can help you plot potential key drivers visually, giving an at-a-glance reference of which are the most influential, and in the case of existing products or services, which ones are not meeting their potential.

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