Two-Dimensional Max-Diff, a Market Research Technique, Provides Richer Insights than Traditional Max-Diff, as per TRC White Paper Published in October Issue of Quirk's.

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A white paper authored by TRC’s Chief Research Officer, Rajan Sambandam, and Senior Research Analyst, Westley Ritz, titled Two-Dimensional Max-Diff Technique was published in the October issue of Quirk’s Magazine. The technique is unique in its ability to evaluate features on two variables (such as importance and innovativeness) at the same time, helping make much richer and more nuanced business decisions.

in two-dimensional max-diff respondents evaluate product features based on 2 variables

Two-Dimensional Max-Diff (2DMS) Goes Beyond Importance

TRC, a Philadelphia-based market research firm, announced today that their white paper about a unique approach to enhance the traditional Max-Diff method with a second variable that helps make richer and more nuanced decisions was published in the October issue of Quirk’s Magazine. The article, titled “Two-Dimensional Max-Diff,” is authored by TRC’s Chief Research Officer, Rajan Sambandam, and TRC’s Senior Analyst, Westley Ritz.

In the article, the authors explain how the traditional Max-Diff has become the gold standard in market research studies that need to rank-order various items tested, such as features or messages. Max-Diff is a trade-off technique that can identify winners within a set of given options. Respondents are presented with sets of (generally) 3-5 items and asked to choose the most and least important items in each set. This information is then used to estimate the preference scores at the individual respondent level using Hierarchical Bayesian (HB) analysis. With this information, the items can be organized from most to least important. The main drawback of the traditional Max-Diff technique is that the items are arrayed on only one dimension, which is usually “importance.”

But sometimes, there is a need to go beyond importance; a need to sort out items on the second dimension, such as uniqueness or innovativeness. This can be done by conducting another Max-Diff exercise, however, this can be tedious on respondents and inefficient.

Rajan Sambandam and Westley Ritz offer a more efficient approach to prevent respondents going through the exercise twice by employing a Two-Dimensional Max-Diff (2DMD). The Two-Dimensional Max-Diff asks respondents to evaluate each set of items for two dimensions instead. For example, if the two dimensions are importance and innovativeness, the 2DMD lets each respondent evaluate each set of items and pick two – the most important and the most innovative items in that set. The data collection process can proceed just as it would in a regular Max-Diff study.

Since importance is almost always likely to be a dimension of interest in prioritization exercise, a more general way to look at this approach is to think of it as measuring importance along with one other quality. It can be uniqueness, innovation or any other quality that seems to be minimally correlated with importance but whose intersection with importance has marketing implications.

About TRC Market Research, product development research firm

TRC Market Research is a new product research and analytics firm that pairs customized solutions with senior-level attention to help solve business problems. TRC provides expertise in designing and implementing successful brand research, pricing research, new product research, business to business market research, market segmentation and satisfaction and loyalty research.

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Lenka Kolar
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