Choosing the right baskets for your eggs: deriving actionable customer segments using supervised genetic algorithms

Sam Davis

TNS

Introduction and theoretical perspectives

A common issue facing market researchers is determining the importance of a particular variable, or set of variables, in influencing another: ‘What drives satisfaction?’ or ‘How do I improve my brand image?’ are particularly common questions. The analytic techniques used to answer these questions can be grouped under the umbrella term of key driver analysis (hereafter, KDA).

KDA can range from simply asking people directly what they think is important, to a range of more complex statistical methods. Direct methods are generally not commonplace in contemporary market research largely because of respondents’ propensity to focus on more obvious areas such as price. It is also commonplace for respondents to claim that everything is important (among others, Bacon 2003).