Anyone ever read the International Journal of Market Research? No, I haven’t either. But the collection of nice, white booklets looks good on my shelf and makes me feel pretty clever. However, as I’m paying for this publication via MRS subs, then perhaps it is worth taking a look.

And yes, it really is. Here’s a quick summary of one thing I’ve learned from volume 58 (issue 6, 2016).

Importance x Performance matrices

I love this stuff, (you know, this kind of thing).

It’s really straight-forward for clients to understand and can offer genuine strategic direction, helping to allocate resources or suggest areas of focus for brand management (among many other things).

However, how often do we consider the difference between ‘stated’ importance (ie what people say) and ‘derived’ importance (ie what the data says)?

Stated importance relies on consumers telling us the truth but it also relies on the fact that they actually know what’s important to them (as opposed to thinking they know). Derived importance can be ascertained fairly easily through techniques such as regression (easy to do btw in Excel) and is a way of understanding the more implicit levels of importance and how they might relate to things like satisfaction, consideration, purchase intention etc.

The differences between these two approaches might seem subtle but they can give us very different results. The example in the journal is for airlines where stated importance places an emphasis on ‘safety’ and derived importance suggests ‘in-flight experience’ is more important. So given a question about relative importance of factors affecting your choice of airline, you may say ‘safety’ is #1, which seems reasonable. However, we then discover via regression that ‘in-flight experience’ is more closely linked to your satisfaction.

Which approach is right? Well, of course, there is no cut and dry answer. Depends, on what you’re doing, in what market and what you intend to do with the resulting insights. An airline might well chose to communicate big on its safety record via its marcomms to engage potential customers who think explicitly about airline safety but they might also work hard to improve their in-flight experience to subtly improve their satisfaction levels and their advocacy rates.

Interesting stuff indeed!


Damn! This stuff really is interesting…

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