A business gathering in person?!? Bazis takeaways from 2021 Sawtooth Conference in San Antonio

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For nearly 40 years, Sawtooth Software has filled a niche within the market research industry. What started as a research company specializing in segmentation, developed to become an independently-owned provider of software helping research professionals conduct conjoint analysis.

That type of market research analysis allows for the closest approximation for market modeling, pricing, and design optimization. Researchers can run market simulations based on assessing current market share and also potential future market share if you change particular features of your product.

Making conjoint analysis user friendly

Conjoint is a powerful methodology and what Sawtooth did was develop user-friendly software that helps set it up and run the calculations on the backend. It’s a computationally intensive process that involves tens of thousands of iterations to model customer preferences, and applies principles of classic and Bayesian statistics .

Because they hold this tech leadership position, Sawtooth Software has hosted a conference for years on insights and analytics in the market research space. This April, our Partner Tatiana Barakshina had the opportunity to participate to an in-person event hosted by Sawtooth Software. Their annual conference was a hybrid event with some clients and researchers attending  in person in San Antonio, Texas, and others attending virtually.

What was 2021 Sawtooth like? 

This year was smaller than most years—at least when it came to the people in the room with Tatiana—but the ideas shared were relevant, timely and insightful. Organizers impressed the attendees with a great blend of on-site and virtual meetings and discussions. 

A unique combination of people within the market research space joined—from those using conjoint analysis for business applications (brands representing smartphone manufacturers, construction equipment producers, automotive dealers) to leaders in academics (from schools Duke, Ohio State, University of Pennsylvania, and others).

That’s because conjoint analysis is a practical research tool for consumer projects with hundreds, even thousands of respondents. But it is also a methodology that affords a small sample size. When working on niche construction projects where there are only so many experts to participate, sample sizes of 30-60 can be really impactful using conjoint analysis. Why? Because it treats each response as a universe of its own. It takes the responses from one person and starts modeling and making some slight changes to the responses of the person and setting potentially which direction can the trend take.

For further reading: Drilling down on conjoint analysis

As a refresher for some readers, there are multiple techniques within the family of conjoint analysis.

  • Traditional Choice-Based Conjoint – comparing several product profiles, describe with a set of features (called “attributes). For example, you could describe your next car using the following attributes: brand, engine type, engine power, drive, color, interior design.

  • Max-Diff Approach – helps researchers identify which of product features are most important to the customer. Showing pairs of characteristics and asking customers to evaluate what is their most and least preferred featureWould you choose engine performance over riding comfort? Would you choose a red car, or a V6 engine?

  • Adaptive Choice-Based Conjoint – taking choice-based approach one step further. First, identifying which product features are most important to customers, second, building product profiles based specifically on the input from this customer, and third, evaluating how likely they are to purchase this product. 

If you’re interested in discussing how we can use the conjoint analysis methodology for your next project, email us at info@bazisgroup.com