SIMALTO is the acronym given to the term Simultaneous Multi-Attribute Level Trade-Off.
This tool was invented by a market researcher called John Green in 1977, and is used in both business and consumer research to provide statistics about the priorities that customers place on different attributes and the trade-offs they make in their decision making processes. People are shown various attributes that they may value in a service or product, and asked to indicate what level of service or product they currently receive, what they would like to see improved, and how much they would spend in order to have these improvements met. The advantage of SIMALTO is that it can be conducted amongst a small sample of people, but can still provide meaningful results, which clearly demonstrate the priorities placed on various attributes by people.
In terms of the practical application of SIMALTO, people are presented a grid which lists a number of attributes down the left-hand side. For each attribute listed, there are a number of different service levels or features related to that attribute. People are asked to rate each attribute in terms of their current product/service provision. They then indicate the level that they would ideally like to receive. They are finally asked to allocate a finite number of points to the different levels of service/product improvements, to illustrate how much they would ‘spend’ in order to achieve their desired level. An example SIMALTO grid is shown below:
This process makes it possible to evaluate the perceptions of current levels across the different features, where service levels/features should ideally be, and the value that is placed on achieving that desired service level/feature.
In market research, SIMALTO can thus be used to help businesses decide where money should be spent in order to maximise satisfaction with aspects of their business because they can see which improvements are most valued by customers.
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