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  • Writer's pictureMMR Research Associates


One of the most common challenges clients face is prioritization. Whether it is features, benefits, messages, or claims, prioritization is a core part of what we do. At MMR Research, we are often asked what's our standard approach to these prioritization projects. Many expect a single solution that we replicate for each objective. However, a one size fits all approach simply doesn't work; But our process certainly does.

Essential to our Framework 360 approach is a review of the business context and the design consultation that leads to the optimal research plan. We then choose the best approach in collaboration with our client.

For the clarity of this article, we'll use the phrase 'item prioritization,' so feel free to insert features, benefits, messages, or claims, knowing our approach remains the same.

The question everyone wants answered is, "what is most important?".

The truth of the matter is there are over twenty methodologies and variations that can apply to that general question. When designing a prioritization project, we consider several contextual elements that play a role in the business objective.

For example:

  • Do we need to identify the best item or the top two or three?

  • Is it necessary to weed items out and separate them at the bottom?

  • How important is it to sort all the items?

  • Is order enough, or do we need to understand relative preferences?

Each of these factors carries its own weight and shouldn't be considered equal. Additionally, due to the strengths and weaknesses of the various methodologies in relation to contextual elements, we consider technical elements to narrow options down further.

We ask:

  • How many items (features, messages, benefits, claims) need to be prioritized?

  • How complex are the items? Lengthy? Specific?

  • From a consumer perspective, how similar or different are the items to one another?

  • Is crafting the optimal final wording of the items an objective?

  • Is there a need to compare results to a previous item prioritization evaluation?

  • Is there a need to identify an optimal number or combination of items to reach the greatest percent of consumers?

  • Do we need to see which combinations of items consumers say fit together the best?

  • Is there a need to understand WHY particular items are a higher priority?

By adding technical elements to the objective, we can determine how best to approach the project for the best results. For instance, if we seek to prioritize 14 features that are different but in the same topic area, we could use a few methodologies, such as MaxDiff and Direct Ratings for the whole sample. But, if the feature descriptions are complex paragraphs, Split Sample Sequential Monadic approaches would be best.

It can be surprising how complex a simple and common question like "How important is this item?" can actually be. In today's digital world, where attention spans are short, simplicity for respondents is vital. There is no single 'best method' to collect prioritization data. There is only a best approach to selecting the method to return valuable insights for your business objective.


Interested in learning more about our work with prioritization?



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