How to Pick the Best Features for a New Product or Service

How to Pick the Best Features for a New Product or Service

The Result Of Product Feature Optimization

You may be challenged to figure out how to select from a range of features in the development of a new product or service.  How are you supposed to understand what features your prospective customers really want?

Product or Service Feature Optimization

Product feature optimization is the process where the best combination of product features is determined that will drive sales, market share and profitability.  Many products have a huge array of features that customers will trade off to select a specific product.

Bigger companies have typically done market tests with concepts or even prototypes.  Potential buyers are shown the products and asked for their reactions.  Smaller companies typically lack the resources for prototypes and they usually depend on the owner’s understanding of the market.  Mindful that producing a product that flops can totally wreck the bottom line.

Potential customers consider a wide range of factors when selecting a product and different people will prioritize these considerations differently.  So how is any small company to figure out what to do?

Conjoint Analysis

This is where Conjoint Analysis comes in.  The heart of this process is getting potential customers to fill out a survey where each question offers a set of hypothetical buying choices that the potential customer must choose.  Then the results of the survey are analyzed using advanced statistical techniques to determine the importance of each feature as well as modeled to provide predictive information.

Unlike most of the topics I discuss in this column, this technique is not something that can be accomplished by a typical business owner.  The design of the survey is very complex and flaws in survey design can lead to erroneous conclusions.  The statistical analysis requires training and advanced skills as does the predictive modeling.  I bring up Conjoint Analysis because it is an extremely valuable tool.

I can tell you from my experience that Conjoint Analysis is a rapid and cost effective way to gather useful information.  It is one of the best ways to get results with a small market research budget.

Conjoint analysis can help small companies get their product development right the first time and make the company much more successful.  What every business wants is a long line of customers waiting to purchase!


Bryan B Mason

Apollo Consulting Group, Providence, RI

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