The laddering technique was used to determine consumer attitudes and purchasing motivations toward the Sony PlayStation 3 The key laddering insights for this product included:
• My friends come over and we spend an evening working together through a game or playing against each other.
• Challenging games require more critical thinking and decision making. It feels more like a puzzle rather than a game.
• Some games are suited to adults only, so I don’t feel like I am playing a “kid’s game,” but taking part in a high-quality gaming experience. Marketing implications from this information on the Sony PlayStation 3 include:
• Set up gaming kiosks in nightclubs in large cities such as Los Angeles and New York to attract adults.
• Advertise through sitcoms such as Friends with Joey and Chandler playing games on a PlayStation 3.
• Target magazines such as Wired and Sports Illustrated with more mature ads. With such a high demand for Sony products, the company realizes that it must continue 10 learn more about consumer behavior patterns.The insights generated from laddering serve as a departure point for further research and hypothesis testing that can help develop new ideas for products, distribution, pricing, or promotion
The PlayStation 3 example illustrates the value of depth interviews in uncovering the hidden responses that underlie the cliches elicited in ordinary questioning. A special way in which depth interviews are used is grounded theory. Grounded theory uses an inductive and more structured , approach in which each subsequent depth interview is adjusted based on the cumulative findings from previous depth interviews with the purpose of developing general concepts or theories. Sometimes historical records are also analyzed. This approach is useful in designing new products or modifying existing products and developing advertising and promotion strategies. Another variation of depth interview is protocol interview. In a protocol interview, a respondent is placed in a decision-making situation and asked to verbalize the process and the activities that he or she would undertake to make the decision
first thing that comes to mind. Word association is the best known of these techniques. In word association, respondents are presented with a list of words, one at a time, and asked to respond to each with the first word that comes to mind. The words of interest, called test words, are interspersed throughout the list, which also contains some neutral, or filler, words to c1isguise the purpose of the study. For example, in the department store study, some of the test words might be: “location,” “parking,” “shopping,” “quality,” and “price.” The subject’s response to each word is recorded verbatim, and responses are timed so that respondents who hesitate or reason out (defmed as taking longer than 3 seconds to reply) can be identified. The interviewer, not the respondent, records the responses. This controls for the time required for the respondent to write the response. The underlying assumption of this technique is that association allows respondents to reveal their inner feelings about the topic of interest. Responses are analyzed by calculating (1) the frequency with which any word is given as a response; (2) the amount of time that elapses before a response is given; and (3) the number of respondents who do not respond at all to a test word within a reasonable period of time. do not respond at all are judged to have an emotional involvement so high that it blocks a response. It is often possible to classify the associations as favorable, unfavorable, or neutral. An individual’s pattern of responses and the details of the. response are used to determine the person’s underlying attitudes or feelings on the topic of interest, as shown in the following example.
Dealing with Dirt
Word association was used to study women’s attitudes toward detergents. Following is a list of stimulus words used and the responses of two women of similar age and household status. The sets of responses are quite different, suggesting that the women differ in personality and in their attitudes toward housekeeping. Mrs. M’s associations suggest that she is resigned to dirt. She sees dirt as inevitable and does not want to do much about it. She does not do hard cleaning, nor does she get pleasure from her family. Mrs. C sees dirt too, but is energetic, factual-minded, and less emotional. She is actively ready to combat dirt and uses soap and water as her weapons.
These findings suggest that the market for detergents could be segmented on the basis of attitudes. In 2009, P&G was the laundry detergent market leader, offering a number of different brands. Research findings similar to those discussed here have helped P&G appropriately position its various detergent brands for different attitudinal segments, leading to increased sales. For example, by focusing on fragrance, P&G increased Gain’s annual sales to more than $1 billion in the year ended June 30,2009. That made Gain number 2, behind P&G’s Tide, which dominated the market with 44 percent of sales
In completion techniques, the respondent is asked to complete an incomplete stimulus situation. Common completion techniques in marketing research are sentence completion and story completion.
SENTENCE COMPLETION Sentence completion is similar to word association. Respondents are given incomplete sentences and asked to complete them. Generally, they are asked to use the first word or phrase that comes to mind, as illustrated in the department store patronage project
A person who shops at Sears is
A person who receives a gift certificate good for Macy’s would be
JCPenney is most liked by
When I think of shopping in a department store, I
This example illustrates one advantage of sentence completion over word association: Respondents can be provided with a more directed stimulus. Sentence completion may provide more information about the subjects’ feelings than word association. However\ sentence completion is not as disguised, and many respondents may be able to guess the purpose of the study. A variation of sentence completion is paragraph completion, in which the respondent completes a paragraph beginning with the stimulus phrase. A further expanded version of sentence completion and paragraph completion is story completion STORY COMPLETION In story completion, respondents are given part of a story-enough to direct attention to a particular topic but not to’ hint at the ending. They are required to give the conclusion in their own words. The respondents’ completion of this story will reveal their underlying feelings and emotions, as in the following example