In His Article in Quirk's Marketing Research Review, Rajan Sambandam from TRC Market Research Offers Suggestions On How To Improve Market Segmentations With Questions In Max-Diff (Maximum Difference Scaling) Format

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Rajan Sambandam, Chief Research Officer at TRC Market Research, suggests ways to improve segmentation studies by asking questions that allow for greater discrimination between respondents. In his article in Quirk's titled "How to Improve your Segmentations with Max-Diff," Rajan Sambandam explains an approach in which respondents are asked to make comparisons, rather than rate each item (e.g. product features, brands, decision criteria) in isolation. The benefit of such an approach is more actionable results in the form of more clearly defined segments.

Max-diff is a recent development in statistical analysis. It is a comparative method in which respondents are shown sets of items and asked to pick the best and worst, or most and least important item, in each set…. Since respondents have to make comparisons and choices, the problems mentioned with traditional importance scales are largely absent

In his article published in the November issue of Quirk's Marketing Research Review, titled "How to Improve your Segmentations with Max-Diff", Rajan Sambandam, Chief Research Officer at TRC Market Research explains how maximum difference scaling, or max-diff, can deliver finely-tuned segmentations without subjecting respondents to an onerous number of comparison questions. "Max-diff is a recent development in statistical analysis. It is a comparative method in which respondents are shown sets of items and asked to pick the best and worst, or most and least important item, in each set…. Since respondents have to make comparisons and choices, the problems mentioned with traditional importance scales are largely absent," Rajan Sambandam explains.

A split sample was used to demonstrate the benefits of max-diff technique. One-half of the sample was asked to rate features important to respondents in opening a checking account, using a 10-point importance scale. The other half was given a max-diff task. As the article explains, the analysis from the max-diff half of the sample yielded more clearly differentiated segments, providing study results that would be more valuable to a client.

The article can be found at TRC White Paper Library along with many other market research white papers.

About Rajan Sambandam
Rajan is Chief Research Officer at TRC Market Research, responsible for overseeing all research and analytical activities. His primary focus is on continuously creating insightful, actionable research for clients. He has an expertise in data analysis and in using both traditional and advanced analytical techniques.

Rajan graduated with a Ph.D. in marketing from the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Rajan's research has been presented at several conferences and has also been published in both academic and practitioner-oriented venues such as The Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Marketing Research, and Marketing News.

Rajan also shares his thoughts on various topics in his Insightology blog.

About TRC Market Research, a consultative custom market research firm
TRC Market Research is a full-service custom market research company dedicated to answering business questions. This market research firm specializes in satisfaction and loyalty research, linking survey data to financials, tricky new product development efforts and segmentation.

Philadelphia-based TRC Market Research is affiliated with the Council of American Survey Research Organizations (CASRO) and the American Marketing Association.

For more information, lkolar(at)trchome.com or call (215.641.2225) Lenka Kolar.

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