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Laddering Market Research

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Laddering Market Research

Laddering is a qualitative market research method used to understand the reasons behind why people buy and use certain products and services. Laddering aims to go beyond pure functional reasons why people do things and identify the impact that this reason has personally on the audience – tapping into their personal values.

To get this deeper response from interviewees, researchers delve deeper into the initial “simple” response given, to discover subconscious motives. By probing initial responses, laddering research allows us to gain a true understanding of individuals’ opinions, attitudes and beliefs.

For example:

A customer indicates that one of the things they like the most about you is the fact that you always deliver their orders on time. Rather than take this as an answer to the question, we would delve further to ask why it is important that orders are delivered on time.  Eventually, we arrive at something that is personal to them as the example below shows:

Why is it important to you that they deliver on time?

It means that I don’t have a situation where there are certain products I cannot make or sell to my customers.

Why is this important to you?

It means that I don’t lose business.

What does it mean if you don’t lose business?

It means that my company is successful.

Why is it important that your company is successful?

I don’t go bankrupt.

And what does this mean to you?

I can continue to provide for my family.

Understanding what motivates people at a personal level can be a very powerful communication tool, because while physical needs change over time, values remain stable and part of our in-built heritage.

Discovering customers’ underlying motivations is a crucial part of understanding what values inspire people to purchase your product or service. This not only provides you with invaluable insights from a users’ perspective, but it can pull out some key claims for your advertising strategy.

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