Maximum Difference Scaling
Description of the technique
It is a central task in market research to find out what the customers judge to be important. It is vital to measure importance, because only by knowing what is really important you can focus your efforts on the essential features. Although this is one of the most frequently asked questions in market research, there is still demand for reliable techniques to measure importance.
The maximum difference scaling (MaxDiff) is a technique to measure the importance of different items. It can be seen as an enlarged technique to compare pairs, which leads to better results.
Different selections of items (usually three to four items) are shown to a test person. The selections follow an experimental design. The respondent has to choose the most and the least desired selection.
Special procedures which allow numerous varieties are used to determine the individual importance of all the different items.
Pros and cons of the technique
Comparison studies show that maximum difference scaling is the most appropriate technique to measure importance. Models determining importance by a maximum difference scaling survey have a better quality than alternative procedures. Moreover the maximum difference scaling proved the best differentiation of the examined features.
This technique does not use scales and thus avoids difficulties respondents might have with the interpretation of scales.
MaxDiff surveys cannot be done by phone. CAPI- or online-surveys are the best way to carry out these interviews. In addition, MaxDiff surveys take more time than other techniques to measure importance.
Today it is crucial to know what is important to the customer. Based on simple polling techniques the MaxDiff (maximum difference scaling) offers the chance to determine a comprehensive ranking of all relevant items, e.g. notions, features, use or brand names. We conceive, implement and evaluate studies which deliver you important information on what your customer consider as a must.