Can a product generate sufficient user experience, identification and binding? How can present non-users be activated? These are the questions that always circulates in the minds of marketers and business owners.
You can answer those questions with usage and attitude (U&A) study.
So what is a usage and attitude (U&A) study? To put in a simpler form, it involves research that aims to 'understand a market' and identify the growth opportunities by answering questions on whom to target, with what and how.
Usage and attitude studies focuses on the frequency of product use, product purchase, attitudes towards the merchandise in terms of strengths, weaknesses and desirable features that may be lacking in an item. These studies also include questions relating to the respondents attitudes towards the brand selling the product in terms of loyalty and brand image.
Though traditionally associated with physical goods, usage and attitude studies are equally useful for companies with service-based offering. These studies provide valuable insights for product development, niche market identification and the development of targeted communication approaches.
Importance of doing a U&A Study
With usage and attitude surveys, clients can find out how people purchase and use their category of products: the situations, the contexts, the purchase decision process, etc. They can also pinpoint which segments of the population are most likely to buy their products.
The usage and attitude survey is typically made up of questions that relate to the type of use, purchase process, purchase decision criteria, preferred characteristics, brand preferences, and demographic information. It can be beneficial to a wide variety of products and services. This is because it mainly operates within a context where the clients can choose to buy their products and services or not. The usage and attitude survey gives insight into what is actually going on behind the decision to purchase a product, which allows for better strategies. It is often the first step when a company gets to a certain size and wants to start investing in marketing research. It may be preceded by some qualitative work in order to develop the most effective usage and attitudes questionnaire possible. It can also be followed-up with satisfaction surveys, concept testing, and much more.
A summary of U&A benefits follows below:
It studies the ‘who-what-when-where-how’ dynamics of a product category or market
It measures brand loyalty and what drives it (key driver analysis)
Enables us to understand how behaviour and usage varies by brand
It provides insights into why consumers buy specific brands (and what those consumers have in common)
Gaps between needs and performance (opportunities) are identified
Benchmarks brand performance against competition
It explores opportunities through detailed analysis of lifestyle, media diet, information channels, attitudes
It sets the stage for a customer segmentation study
2 Types of Approach to Conduct a U&A study
A qualitative approach is typically selected if consumer motivation and background underlying the market mechanism and purchase decision needs to be analysed or unknown. In simpler words, exploring a new market.
The qualitative element is vital, as acknowledging the emotions behind a purchase decision in detail is just as important as understanding the extent of a need within a market.
Here it’s crucial to understand the criteria of the purchase or the use of certain products and brands. A sophisticated and open-minded approach is necessary to accomplish this goal.
In contrast, a quantitative U&A study grants a valid and representative overview of consumer needs and preferences explained by all the data and stats. However, the relevant market segment is presented in a rather descriptive manner.
The information about the background of certain usage and purchasing patterns is usually not as profound and exhaustive as compared to the qualitative approach. The advantage of a quantitative U&A is the representative number base, which allows for cluster analysis and segmentations. Therefore, allowing more information about the structure and composition of target groups to be able to be displayed.