Using the conjoint methodology to find the most important attributes for a blood and plasma screening unit

The question

December is HIV/AIDS Awareness Month, a vital reminder to everyone about the importance of getting tested on a regular basis. Our client, a producer of blood and plasma screening units that are used to test for – amongst other illnesses – the HIV virus, asked us to test their new product concept.

The end goal

The equipment used to screen blood and plasma usually has dozens of product attributes. 

Our client wanted to know which of those attributes proved to be actually valuable to the user – and which weren’t all that necessary. 

The core question of this concept testing project: which attributes do we have to focus on for the next generation of our product? 

Our approach: conjoint analysis 

To test the new product concept of our client, we used the Adaptive Choice-Based Conjoint (ACBC) approach, an interview technique which was developed approximately six years ago. We talked to 50 senior lab managers/directors over the US and EU in order to come up with the optimal product configuration. 

In short, this quantitative study is used to evaluate the landscape and to get a realistic overview of what respondents would choose in a real life situation. A typical exercise looks as follows:

Phase 1: Screening
In the screening phase, the respondents are shown a number of screens with possible configurations that are similar to the ones on the market. We ask the respondents which ones they would possibly have an interest in.

The outcome of this phase delivers an amount of concepts, which will be compared to each other in the following step.

Phase 2: Choice tournament
In the tournament phase, we show the selected concepts from phase 1 in sets of three. The respondents have to decide which of those three they would choose.

This phase delivers the attribute importance and preference scores for the attribute levels. We use these to run simulations of the market model and get to an ‘ultimate configuration’, which lies closest to real life behaviour. 

What did we look for? 

We used this exercise to gain knowledge about the current usage, the current preferences and the importance – or unimportance – of certain attributes. More specifically, we wanted to…

1 – … uncover the customer preferences.
2 – … rank the product attributes in terms of importance.
3 – … have an idea about the existing competitive products.

With this information, the client was able to set up different product configurations – and put them in a simulator in order to find out how this concept would compare with that of the competitor. The end goal: knowing what is needed to develop thé perfect device to go to market with. 

The results

This quantitative concept testing study, based on the Adaptive Choice-Based Conjoint analysis, gave us plenty of information and insights to share with the client. After our research they could continue their development, which was now based on…

… a new understanding of the most important attributes in specifics of blood and plasma screening.

… plenty of insights in the ranking of these attributes – and possible combinations of attributes.

… a clear understanding of the preferences concerning combined attributes.

Customer insights

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