Total Unduplicated Reach & Frequency Analysis (TURF) is a great tool for figuring out how to satisfy the most customers with the fewest number of products or services. TURF analysis has its origins in the media buying industry, but is now a very common main stream marketing research tool.
Nearly every example of TURF analysis uses ice cream to illustrate how it works, so in keeping with tradition, I’ll do the same here.
The owner of a small grocery store has room in his freezer section of five flavors of ice cream out of twenty-five different flavor options. Conventional wisdom says that he should conduct a survey to determine which of the twenty-five flavors of ice cream are the most popular, and then stock those five. The problem with this is that it may be the case that the vast majority of people who buy the most popular flavor (say chocolate) may also be just as willing to by the second most popular flavor (say vanilla). So you could likely easily satisfy the majority of those same customers with either flavor. However, there may be people who absolutely love sherbet, and if sherbet is not an option, they simply won’t buy anything. TURF analysis helps identify these niche customer segments and maximize the product mix. So in our example, the best mix may end up being one that includes the top two most popular flavors, the fourth most popular flavor, and the seventh and fifteenth most popular flavors. TURF analysis would show that this five flavor combination would provide the largest selection of acceptable options to the largest number of people.