Laddering is a qualitative marketing research technique, which seeks to understand why people buy and use products and services.
You find out which product features are important to product users and end with users’ emotional benefits.
You use the technique to create ads, positioning messages, and develop new products.
Thomas J. Reynolds and Jonathan Gutman developed and introduced laddering in 1988, based on Gutman’s Means-End Theory of 1982. They describe product attributes, consequences, and values. Product attributes produce consequences that produce personal meaning (values) for product users.
In other words, product features produce functional and emotional benefits, which are personal to the product user.
People buy features and benefits that satisfy emotions and beliefs. And they rationalize buying with features and functional benefits.
There are four levels to the features-benefits-emotions chain. They are,
Higher Order benefits