A dynamic-programming heuristic is described to find approximate solutions to the problem of identifying a new, multi-attribute product profile associated with the highest share-of-choices in a competitive market. The input data consist of idiosyncratic multi-attribute preference functions estimated using conjoint or hybrid-conjoint analysts. An individual is assumed to choose a new product profile if he/she associates a higher utility with it than with a status-quo alternative. Importance weights are assigned to individuals to account for differences in their purchase and/or usage rates and the performance of a new product profile is evaluated after taking into account its cannibalization of a seller's existing brands. In a simulation with real-sized problems, the proposed heuristic strictly dominates an alternative lagrangian-relaxation heuristic in terms of both computational time and approximation of the optimal solution. Across 192 simulated problems, the dynamic-programming heuristic identifies product profiles whose share-of-choices, on average, are 98.2% of the share-of-choices of the optimal product profile, suggesting that it closely approximates the optimal solution.
Kohli, Rajeev, and Ramesh Krishnamurti. "A Heuristic Approach to Product Design." Management Science 33, no. 12 (December 1987): 1523-33.
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