Concept / Value

The value-measurement dilemma

Measuring value has always been a difficult process.

From a consumer standpoint, value is something that is derived from the purchase, use (or consumption), and ownership of (or association with) a product or service.

Measuring this ‘value’ is tricky as the consumer may derive multiple value-outcomes (and hence, multiple scores/part-worths in measurement of value) from different components of a product/service experienced which aren’t necessarily an aggregate, nor an average, of the value-outcomes experienced by the consumer.

Photo credit:executiveboard.com

Photo credit: executiveboard.com

That’s probably why guests at hotels or restaurants find it difficult to honestly and quickly evaluate their experience at a hotel/restaurant – unless, of course, the overall experience has been overwhelmingly superior (“awesome, guys you’ve got to try this place”) or inferior (terrible, I’m never coming here again”). Consumers experience similar dilemma when they have to review a book or a movie, or provide critical assessment of their cars, home appliances, jobs, holidays or parenting. Unless, a single component (or a group of components) of the consumer’s experience overrules everything else.

Photo credit: adweek.com

Photo credit: adweek.com

What makes things complex is that, consumers not only derive different sets of value from different attributes of a product or a service based on their experience of each of these attributes, interpretations of these attributes (e.g. based on cultural, social and ethnic norms) and past experiences also pay a major role in the value assessment.

The point is, though consumers (as well as producers) may want to tie value down to a single expression of a ‘thumbs up’ or a ‘thumbs down’ sign, and often it turns out so, measuring value is rarely as simple as that.

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