Sequential Elimination Rule

In this decision approach the consumer has established acceptable performance minimums for each evaluative criterion and the proceeds to evaluate each brand and eliminate any which do not measure up to these minimums. This process is different from lexicographic approach in that it does not require any specific ordering of attributes. To understand its operation, assume that our calculator shopper evaluated each criterion in the order in which they are own in Table. First, price would be considered and any brand whose price exceeded the acceptable limit would be eliminated. This leaves three remaining brands in considerations (KMC 3000, TI 1001 and Canon LC-20). Next, ease of use is evaluated and all three brands exceed the minimum with none being in this decision eliminated. Readability of display is assessed next; the TI 1001 is eliminated because it does not meet the minimum acceptable performance standard. Warranty is the next criterion assessed and one more model (KMC 3000) is eliminated from consideration. Therefore the Canon LC – 20 would be the brand chosen for purchase using the sequential elimination decision rule.

Comparative advertising strategies are sometimes designed along this approach in an attempt to convince consumers of the wisdom of a course of action. The advertiser may begin by showing all of the brand’s competitors and then eliminating them from consideration as certain relevant evaluative criteria are considered. The sponsoring brand is then left as the obvious choice from among many competitors

Compensatory Decision rule:

Consumers using a compensatory decision rule will allow perceived favorable ratings or brand evaluative criteria to offset unfavorable evaluations. That is, brand strengths can compensate for brand weaknesses. The approach therefore, uses more than one evaluative criterion for assessment by consumers. This decision rule evaluates brands individually along all dimensions or attributes with the overall evaluation being the sum of the weighted trainings along each attribute. The brand obtaining the highest sum would be the brand purchased by the consumer. As an illustration of how this decision rule might operate in the electronic calculator purchase situation, consider the information present. This carries the previous information in table one step further by providing a ratings of the importance of each evaluative criterion (assigned a weight between 1and 10) and a quantitative evaluation of how well each brand measures up on these evaluative dimensions (again, assigned a rating between 1 and 10) the evaluation scores are multiplied by the importance weights and summed to provide each brand’s total score. The brand scoring highest in terms of total satisfaction contributed would be the alternatives selected. In this case, the Canon LC-20 would be purchased.

While it should be emphasized that consumers do not calculate actual scores for brands as shown, they do (1) determine the brands to be considered, (2)define there needs and rank them, (3) determine the degree to which brands meet their needs, and (4) select the brand that will best meet their most important needs a they perceive them.


A growing body of research on decision rules used by consumers indicates that compensatory strategies tend to be utilized under high involvement conditions when the number of alternatives is small and the evaluative criteria may be large and by those with greater education. When the consumers is confronted with many alternatives it appears that a conjunctive decision rule may be used to reduce the alternatives to a manageable number, and then a compensatory strategy may be used to assess the remaining brands for a final decision.

Only the lexicographic and sequential elimination approaches discussed above assume that consumers process information by attribute (CPA) while the remaining alternatives all assumed a processing by brand approach (CPB). The processing approach used by consumers has much to do with marketing strategies. For example, if consumers presently engage in a CPB approach and prefer this manner the attribute information should continue to be provided in the context of the brand as it is normally now done in promotion and retail displays. However, if consumers prefer to process information by means of a CPA approach then the attributes themselves might be more prominently featured such as in retail displays which might group products and brands by salient attributes.

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