SMARTProp Customer Value Analysis (CVA) techniques uncover the non-price characteristics that customers value most. The results of this analysis enable our clients to better understand the attributes that are most likely to influence purchase decisions and grow revenues.

Understanding customer satisfaction is important, but what about the non-customer?

Customer satisfaction surveys and/or measurement systems (such as customer experience dashboards) are excellent tools that companies frequently use to monitor customer satisfaction. However, these tools do not provide a quantifiable measure of those decision-makers who are not customers. In other words, the voice of the customer is not the same as the voice of the non-customer. Furthermore, the voices of both need to be heard and understood in order to create the tools and messages that will provide the best chance to positively impact market share.

In the face of staunch competition, it is crucial to know what all customers most value when selecting a product or service provider. The companies that are perceived to provide a consistently high level of satisfaction on areas of high customer value are likely to increase their market share. SMARTProp CVA is a powerful analytical technique used for measuring relative value as well as performance relative to the competition.

What is value?

Value is the superiority of a product or service relative to the cost to acquire that product or service. When making a purchase decision, customers place varying degrees of value on a variety of price AND non-price characteristics. The characteristics that are most valuable are the ones that will have the most weight in the selection of a product or supplier.

Saurage understands that value is defined differently by varying levels of decision makers. In other words, what is valuable to C-level executives is not necessarily what is valuable to end users of a product or service. SMARTProp segments decision-makers at all levels in order for our clients to create marketing communications that emphasize the points that decision makers at each level value most. For example, being a good value for the money may be of higher value to a CEO, but of relatively low value to the Engineer who is more concerned with achieving measurable productivity gains. SMARTProp CVA allows a company to understand what different types of customers most value AND how companies in a competitive set are performing on those characteristics—in relation to one another.

Perceived value, and ultimately market share, are derived from two key inputs, price perception and perceived quality. The perception of fair value for the price charged is the area in which companies want to price their products and services. Quality is the culmination of all the features of a product or service to be considered—other than price. These non-price features include such characteristics as stability, brand image, customer service and technological expertise.

The goal of SMARTProp CVA is to understand the needs of the market as well as the competitive position of those companies in the competitive set. It does this by:

  1. Identifying the most important purchase attributes
  2. Calculating the areas of strong and weak performance of the competitive set against value drivers
  3. Uncovering unmet needs in the marketplace
  4. Evaluating which companies are providing a fair market value for their products and services.

What are the most critical buying factors?

Before marketing research can accurately identify and quantify critical buying factors, a general understanding of customer needs must be attained. Often companies make the mistake of assuming what customers need and value without talking to them. Qualitative research (such as in-depth interviews or focus groups) frequently uncovers needs that were not realized by product/service providers. It is in a qualitative phase of marketing research where those “Aha!” moments frequently occur and key buying factors are uncovered. These non-price, key buying factors can then be placed in a value model to be measured quantitatively.

This model indicates that the buyers of this product AND in this market segment value quality more than they value price. In addition, a global presence is most important (21%) followed by a competent sales force and technical expertise. In order to be competitive with this market segment, a company should focus its efforts on these three areas. Furthermore, a segmentation process would allow a company to see what is most valuable to various segments. Marketing and sales professionals, armed with this type of information, can focus their efforts on the characteristics that customers value most.

How well are we performing on the critical attributes?

Performance on characteristics that value most can easily be measured. In order to attain a true measurement on the performance of the companies in a competitive set, survey research must be conducted as a blind study without an overabundance of customers from any one particular competitor represented. The competitive set should include the top-two companies, the fastest growing competitor, and competitors that have recently introduced new technology. This difference in sampling is a key difference between customer satisfaction surveys and customer value analysis. The graphic below illustrates and example of scores of different brands on varying attributes.

A typical survey question used to develop a characteristic chart is an agreement scale of 0 to 10, where 0 means completely disagree and 10 means completely agree, that the attribute describes the company. As illustrated in the above chart, Company A is outperforming its competitors, by a substantial margin, on product quality. Company B is exhibiting a strong performance on the quality of its sales force. There is a relatively small difference in the perceptions of the companies in regard to the technical expertise that each provide.

Does the value of my product or service justify its cost?

SMARTProp CVA also allows a company to identify if and to what extent it, and its competitors, can charge a premium price for its products and services. When tracked over time, this tool enables a company to determine how changes in price impact the perception of value. The following is an example of perceived pricing information that can be attained from a quantitative survey:

“Please indicate what you would expect to pay, in comparison to the average price, for the same product or service from Competitors A, B, & C.”

As indicated in the above example, it is perceived that customers would expect to pay a premium price for products and services provided by Companies A and C and a price discount for the products and services provided by Company B.

Trusted brands are strong brands that are able to command a premium price for the products and services that they provide. The ability to charge a price premium is related to brand trust, customer satisfaction, and customer value.

Head-to-Head Value Matrix

Another deliverable from SMARTProp CVA is a direct analysis of companies in a competitive set on the critical importance factors. This analysis utilizes importance scores (derived from regression analysis) and performance scores on those attributes that are most important. This analysis can serve as a guide to managers for input into SWOT analyses and other tools used to solidify a company’s position in the market.

The following is an example of a head-to-head matrix. As illustrated, Company A outperforms Company B on global presence, being a preferred supplier, cost and technical expertise. But it trails Company B on reputation, timely delivery, and a professional sales staff.

The chart also illustrates the most important factors, which in this case are a professional sales staff, cost, and technical expertise. Company A should protect its positioning on cost and technical expertise. Company A should focus its efforts on improving the quality of its sales staff and attack Company B on this attribute.


SMARTProp CVA is a strong marketing research tool that allows a company to position itself vis-à-vis the competition as a leader in areas of most value to customers. Armed with this information, management can focus its quality improvement initiatives in areas where they will be most beneficial. The utilization of SMARTProp CVA and market segmentation often leads to new product offerings, improved web content, and effective marketing strategies.

About Saurage Research

We are a full-service marketing research firm. We provide the answers that drive successful business strategies. Accurate, usable data – packaged so that so that you can understand it and act on it successfully.

Since 1987 we have worked closely with companies in many industries. It is rewarding to see our research used to create (or redirect) national advertising campaigns, bring faltering businesses into the black, and turn unconvincing promotional programs into success stories. We know our business and understand your needs. To request a bid or for more information, contact us now.

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