Non-compensatory models of consumer choice


The expectancy-value model is a compensatory model in that perceived good things for a product can help to overcome perceived bad things. But consumers may not want to invest so much time and energy to evaluate brands. They often take “mental shortcuts� that involve various simplifying choices heuristics.

With non-compensatory models of consumer choice, positive and negative attribute considerations do not necessarily net out. Evaluating attributes more in isolation makes decision making easier for a consumer, but also increases the likelihood that the person would have made a different choice if he or she had deliberated in greater detail. Three such choice heuristics are given below:

1. The consumer sets a minimum acceptable cut off level for each attribute and chooses the first alternative that meets the minimum standard for all attributes with the conjunctive heuristic.

2. With the lexicographic heuristic, the consumer chooses the best brand on the basis of its perceived most important attribute.

3. With the elimination-by- aspects heuristic, the consumer compares brands on an attribute selected probabilistically where the probability of choosing an attribute is positively related to its importance and brands are eliminated if they do not meet minimum acceptable cutoff levels.

Characteristics of the person (e.g. brand or product knowledge), the purchase decision task and setting (e.g. number and similarity of brand choices and time pressure involved), and social context (e.g. need for justification to a peer or boss) all may affect if and how choice heuristics are used.

Consumers do not necessarily adopt only one type of choice rule in making purchase decisions. In some cases, they adopt a phased decision strategy that combines two or more decision rules. For example, they might use a non-compensatory decision rule such as the conjunctive heuristic to reduce the number of brand choices to a more manageable number and then evaluate the remaining brands.

Understanding of and how consumers screen brands can be critical. One reasons for the runaway success of the Intel Inside campaign in the 1990s was that it made the brand the first cut off for many consumers. They would only buy a PC which had an Intel microprocessor. PC makers such s IBM, Dell, and gateway had no choice but to support Intel’s marketing efforts.

Intervening Factors:

Even if consumers form brand evaluations, two general factors can intervene between the purchase intention and the purchase decision. The first factor is the attitudes of others. The extent to which another person’s attitude reduces the preference for an alternative depends on two things:

1. The intensity of the other person’s negative attitude toward the consumer’s preferred alternative and

2. The consumer’s motivation to comply with the other person’s wishes.

The more intense the other person’s negativism and the closer the other person to the consumer, the more the consumer will adjust his or her purchase intention. The converse is also true: A buyer’s preference for a brand will increase if someone he or she respects favors the same brand strongly.

Related to the attitudes of others is the role played by information experts who publish their evaluations. Examples include Consumer Reports, which provides unbiased expert reviews of all types of products and services; JD Powers, which provides consumer-based ratings of cars, financial services, and travel products and services; professional movie, book, and music reviewers; customer reviews of books and music on; and the increasing number of chat rooms where people discuss products, services, and companies. Consumers are undoubtedly influenced by these evaluations, as evidenced by the success of a small-budget movie like ‘My Big Greek Wedding’ which received a slew of favorable reviews by moviegoers on many Web sites.

The second factor is unanticipated situational factors that may erupt to change the purchase intention.

There are many different types of risks the consumer may perceive in buying and consuming a product. They are,

1. Functional risk – the product does not perform up to expectations

2. Physical risk – the product poses a threat to the physical well being of the user

3. Financial risk – the product is not worth the price paid

4. Social risk – the product results in embarrassment from others

5. Psychological risk – the product affects the mental well being of the user

6. Time risk – the failure of the product results in finding another product

Consumers develop routines of reducing risk by decision avoidance, information gathering, and preference for national brand names and warranties. Marketers must understand the factors that provoke a feeling of risk in consumers and therefore they must provide information and support to reduce perceived risk by consumers.