Market research is a process of collecting and analyzing data about the needs, preferences, and behaviors of consumers in a specific market. One of the most common and useful types of market research is the usage and attitude (U&A) study, which aims to understand how consumers use a product or service, what motivates them to buy it, and what their opinions and perceptions are about it.
A U&A study can help businesses or organizations to:
- Identify the characteristics of their target market, such as demographics, psychographics, lifestyle, and media habits
- Measure the size and potential of their market, such as penetration, frequency, volume, and value
- Understand the customer journey and decision-making process, such as awareness, consideration, purchase, usage, satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy
- Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of their product or service, as well as their competitors’, in terms of performance, quality, features, benefits, price, and image
- Discover the unmet needs and pain points of their customers, as well as the opportunities and threats in the market
- Segment their customers based on their usage patterns and attitudes, and tailor their marketing strategies accordingly
- Test new product concepts or ideas, or improve existing ones, based on customer feedback
A U&A study typically involves conducting a survey with a representative sample of current, past, or potential customers of a product or service category.
The survey can be conducted online, by phone, by mail, or in person. The survey questions can cover various topics related to usage and attitude, such as:
- Usage: How often do you use this product or service? How much do you use? When do you use it? Where do you use it? How do you use it? With whom do you use it? What are the occasions or reasons for using it?
- Attitude: What are your overall impressions of this product or service? How satisfied are you with it? How loyal are you to it? How likely are you to recommend it to others? What are the benefits or drawbacks of using it? How does it compare to other products or services in the same category?
- Behavior: Where do you buy this product or service? How do you choose which brand to buy? How much do you spend on it? How often do you switch brands? What are the factors that influence your purchase decision?
- Demographics: What is your age, gender, income, education, occupation, marital status, household size, location, etc.?
The data collected from the survey can be analyzed using various statistical techniques, such as descriptive analysis, cross-tabulation, correlation analysis, regression analysis, factor analysis, cluster analysis, etc. The results can be presented in various formats, such as tables, charts, graphs, reports, dashboards, etc.
A U&A study can provide valuable insights for businesses or organizations to understand their customers better and improve their products or services accordingly. However, a U&A study also has some limitations and challenges that need to be considered:
- A U&A study can be time-consuming and costly to conduct
- A U&A study can be affected by sampling errors or biases
- A U&A study can only capture what customers say or think at a given point in time
- A U&A study may not reflect what customers actually do or feel in real situations
Therefore, a U&A study should be complemented by other methods of market research that can provide more objective and behavioral data. For example:
- Observation: Watching how customers use a product or service in natural settings
- Experimentation: Testing how customers react to different variations of a product or service
- Ethnography: Immersing oneself in the culture and context of customers
- Netnography: Analyzing online conversations and interactions of customers
By combining different methods of market research that can capture both usage and attitude data from multiple sources and perspectives, businesses or organizations can gain a more comprehensive and holistic understanding of their customers and their markets.