The words are different but the application is the same. Usage and Attitudes studies, also called Habits and Practices studies, help researchers and marketers understand consumers and customers in order to build and innovate products and services. They are an effective way for experts in design, marketing, strategy, and customer experience to better understand how they can meet the needs of consumers and customers.
More specifically, these types of studies offer:
- a quantitative foundation that describes the SKU, brand, category, and market, e.g., size of the market, awareness, purchase and usage frequency, how and when products are purchased and used, demographic characteristics of consumers, customers, and category users or rejectors.
- qualitative insight into attitudes, opinions, emotions, feelings, beliefs, values, motivations, and desires of consumers and customers, regardless of how subjective or objective those items are.
- insight into key drivers for choosing (and not choosing) a brand or category, and how it is positioned within the market.
With this information at hand, brands can measure more than simple brand awareness. They can build effective short-term and long-term brand strategies that elicit impactful engagement. And, marketers can use this information to generate sales and market projections, and even identify new opportunities for innovation and growth.
The analyses conducted depend on the precise objectives of the study and will in turn help to determine which questions are asked. Some options to consider include evaluating:
- Differences and similarities among key demographic, psychographic, usage, and purchase groups
- Metrics related to each stage of the purchase funnel: Awareness, consideration, trial, purchase, repurchase
- Purchase motivations for consideration, trial, and repurchase
- Key barriers to usage and purchase
- The brand’s position in the marketplace, as well as its strengths and weaknesses in comparison to key competitors
- Gaps that competitive brands are filling
- Innovations consumers might be interested in
The best methodology is a combination of techniques that will answer your key research objectives. Online questionnaires offer a broad range of qualitative, quantitative, image, video, and audio question options, can cover a diverse range of topics fairly quickly, and simplify the tracking process. Telephone interviewing also simplifies the tracking process, but allows for more in-depth probing and perhaps more detailed responses. Face-to-face research might take longer and may use smaller sample sizes, but mall intercepts and central location research allows you to really get to know consumers on a one-to-one basis, to genuinely understand their individual opinions.
Many U&A studies are conducted as custom projects, perhaps once every several years. Other times, projects are broken into components such that certain portions are conducted every year and other portions are conducted every several years. By including tracking components, brands can identify key shifts in the market and react more quickly.
Who is the target?
An effective study gathers information from a broad range of people. Thus, not only is it important to gather information from your own customers, it’s important to gather information from competitive users and buyers (those aren’t necessarily the same people!), as well as potential and lapsed users and buyers. To maximize your insight potential, consider including:
- category consumers and customers
- potential consumers and customers
- brand consumers and customers
- lapsed consumers and customers
- geographically disperse people
- demographically diverse people
What questions should be asked?
Although the temptation is great to include every possible question, the end result of such a plan will be high incomplete rates and very dissatisfied participants. Instead, focus on the questions that are most relevant to your brand and your research objectives. Potential questions could focus on:
- aided and unaided awareness of major and competitive category brands and advertising
- frequency of brand/category/SKU purchase and usage
- frequency and type of payment/offers used and noticed
- frequency and type of channels/outlets/advertising used and noticed
- attitudes, emotions, beliefs, and values about the category, key brands, and relevant SKUs
- key demographic characteristics as well as category relevant characteristics, e.g., skin type, height, career
We’d be happy to help you plan out a U&A project that best suits your needs. Please get in touch with us!