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  Buyer Behavior Flow Chart

Following the choice of a market coverage strategy, the company needs to develop a positioning strategy for the brand.

To do that, evaluative dimensions that consumers will use to make the buying decision must be identified. These can then be used to come up with the brand's core benefit proposition. A BBFC helps do this.

Brand choice is typically a noncompensatory process, which means that consumers focus on whether a brand has one or more attributes that are important to them, rather than a compensatory process where all attributes are traded off against each other.

A Buyer Behavior Flow Chart is a device to help understand the process by which consumers choose brands. Since it involves "branching," it is noncompensatory by definition. To give you an idea of compensatory brand comparisons—and perhaps decisions—see Consumer Reports. Ranking brands on all attributes is what they do. But it is not necessarily what consumers do.

One of the keys to an effective buyer behavior analysis (and flow chart) is to focus on a small number of salient and encompassing evaluative dimensions. There are two reasons for this: first, a noncompensatory decision process is consistent with the use of flow charts and, second, managers need to focus on the "big picture" rather than minor product attributes. It is not that the minor attributes are not important, but rather that the consumer's evaluative dimensions dominate product attributes. The attribute of "color of cola" is dominated by taste and price, for example, so that Crystal Pepsi wouldn't—and didn't—go anywhere.

The Buyer Behavior Flow Chart is important because it helps prevent us dealing with the "wrong" evaluative dimensions. It would be easy to draw a positioning map for credit cards that had interest rate and credit limit as the two axes, but if you first do a buyer behavior analysis, you would probably realize that these are more or less the same for all major competitors and that positioning would be better served by availability and features. Visa owns "availability" and American Express does well on "features."


Summary of the marketing logic

  • Positioning requires using the "right" evaluative dimensions.
  • Use a Buyer Behavior Flow Chart to find them.
  • Derive the core benefit proposition from the positioning analysis.

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