The authors present a model that maps competitive market structures by identifying the preference structure of each consumer segment. By marrying two different data types—switching probabilities and attribute ratings—their model divides a market into several homogeneous sub-markets in which consumers consider a distinctive subset of brands (consideration set or competitive group) with a segment-specific rule for attribute evaluations and a segment-specific ideal point. Using data published in Harshman and colleagues’ (1982) work, the authors examine the U. S. car market and find brand-loyal segments for all car types except those favored by first-time buyers, a universal market, and five switching segments that consider car groups differing in the nation of origin, size, and luxury level. Breaking the switching segment into finer partitions gives a better account of the data than the Colombo-Morrison model or an asymmetric generalization of that model. The authors advocate the development of marketing goals with respect to each of the segment maps in the hope that it will lead to more synergistic marketing strategies for brands encountering multifaceted competition.
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