What is TURF Analysis? [+ When & How You Should Use It]

It's not feasible for a business to offer every product, service, and feature that its customers want. Knowing this is a limitation, organizations need to carefully pick and choose which products, services, or features to offer to customers.

TURF analysis provides valuable insights for businesses looking to optimize and/or expand product portfolios by identifying the market reach and potential for each combination of products they might offer.

What is TURF Analysis?

TURF analysis is a commonly used market research technique that helps organizations understand how to reach the greatest number of customers with a limited number of offerings. TURF stands for Total Unduplicated Reach and Frequency.

Here's how it works:

  • Total Unduplicated Reach: This part of the analysis aims to find out how many unique individuals can be reached by a specific set of products or services. It helps in understanding the potential audience size.

  • Frequency: Frequency refers to how often a particular product or service is consumed or used within a given time frame. In TURF analysis, it's about finding out how many products or services an individual is likely to consume.

The Basics Of TURF Analysis Projects

Businesses can use TURF projects to analyze different features, combinations, and other things depending on how the project is setup.

In many cases, it allows brands to find the best option of things in order to add them onto the product or service being sold. Backing these decisions based on data is the best way to do them.

Here’s a short list of the basics:

  1. Identify your audience. These are the people you want to sell your products or services to. They can also be look-alikes of your current customers or similar. They can also be based on other factors like psychographics, age, demographics, and behaviors.

  2. Highlight features. List the features that highlight your product/service. In this case, it could be like a size, color, scent, or anything else that you can attribute to your project.

  3. Determine preferences. It’s ideal to capture feedback on features. That will help respondents make tradeoff decisions between a specific set of features that is displayed across multiple displays.

  4. Analyze your data. The output from the project can show the differences in combination of features that respondents want, what they chose individually, and more depending on what you set up the project to be.

  5. Identify the best results. Based on the data, there should be an optimal combination that provides the best positive feedback among your audience.

  6. Plan your actions. Based on the best features or combinations, it can be the best to plan a way to adjust or change the product based on the feedback.

What is TURF Analysis Used For?

TURF analysis is particularly useful in scenarios where you have a range of products or services, but have constraints such as budget, shelf space, or marketing efforts.

It helps in optimizing the selection of products or services to maximize the reach and frequency within these constraints.

Here are some applications you can use:

  • Product Assortment Optimization: Retailers might use TURF analysis to determine which combination of products to stock in their stores to reach the widest range of customers.

  • Media Planning: Media companies might use TURF analysis to figure out which combination of shows, channels, or advertising mediums will reach the largest and most diverse audience.

  • New Product Launches: When introducing a new product or service, TURF analysis can help in deciding which features or variations to launch first to achieve the widest reach.

  • Content Marketing: Content creators or marketers might use TURF analysis to select topics or content types that have the potential to reach the largest and most engaged audience.

  • Market Expansion: When a company is entering a new market, TURF analysis can guide them in selecting the right set of offerings to appeal to the local audience.

TURF Analysis Example

Let’s pretend you own a café that plans to offer smoothies. Within the restaurant there is limited space and resources, allowing you to only offer 2 smoothie flavors.

You conduct a survey with your customers to ask which flavors they prefer. While the typical frequency data chart shows you that ‘Strawberry’ and ‘Strawberry-Banana’ are the most popular flavors, TURF analysis provides you with a different picture.

The TURF analysis shows that offering ‘Strawberry’ and ‘Blueberry’ will provide the greatest reach among your customers.

This would likely be because ‘Strawberry’ and ‘Strawberry-Banana’ are preferred by the same types of customers, while ‘Blueberry’ would open the door for a whole separate audience.

TURF analysis takes into account these overlaps in preference and calculates the unduplicated reach percentage for every combination of flavors tested in the survey.

How is TURF Analysis Conducted? 

TURF analysis is conducted using data from standard multiple-choice questions in a market research survey. The data is analyzed using statistical software, which calculates a reach for every combination included in the survey.

The survey data can be analyzed for a variety of different scenarios. For example, an organization might want to determine how to optimize market reach for a portfolio of 3, 4, and 5 products.

This would allow the organization to determine how many products they want to offer, and what those products would be.

Advantages of TURF Analysis

By analyzing the reach and overlap of different offerings, TURF helps businesses understand which combination of options will capture the largest portion of the target market.

This method is particularly useful in product assortment optimization, media planning, and marketing campaign design.

By identifying the most appealing combination of choices to consumers, TURF analysis enables businesses to...

  • Allocate resources effectively
  • Optimize product portfolios
  • Tailor marketing strategies to reach the widest possible audience while minimizing redundancy and waste

Ultimately, TURF analysis empowers businesses to make informed decisions that enhance market penetration and maximize return on investment.

Limitations of TURF Analysis

While TURF analysis provides valuable insights into how an organization can reach the greatest number of customers, it is important to take other relevant factors into consideration.

For example, if you’re offering a product/service, you’ll want to know how important variety is to customers. You will also want to know if customers plan to buy certain types of products more than others.

From an operational standpoint, it’s also important to take into consideration profit margins and the resources required for each offering.

The bottom line is incorporating TURF analysis findings with other market research and operational insights is an excellent way to make research more comprehensive and provide a complete picture of audience preference and market potential.

Contact Our TURF Analysis Research Company

Drive Research is a consumer research company that works with organizations across the world to improve products, services, and marketing campaigns.

Interest in learning more about how TURF analysis can help your organization? Contact us through the form below or email [email protected].



Chris Coville

As the Director of Research of Drive Research, Chris has 10 years of experience in the market research field and has completed projects with organizations across the globe. He was also named a 2017 40 Under 40 Award winner.

Learn more about Chris, here.


subscribe to our blog



Market Research Glossary Market Research Analysis