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How do members of the buying center use these evaluations to select a laptop computer? The final decision depends on the relationship between the performance evaluations and the company's needs. The buying center members must consider the degree to which they are willing to sacrifice poor performance on one attribute for superior performance on another. The members of the buying center must make some trade-offs. No single product will perform best on all characteristics. For example, Apex excels on size, weight, and availability of convenient service; Bell has superior speed; and Deltos provides the best reliability and internal memory. IMPORTANCE WEIGHTS In making an overall evaluation, buying center members need to consider the importance of each characteristic. These importance weights may differ from member to member. Consider two members of the buying center: the national sales manager and the chief information officer (CIO). The national sales manager is particularly concerned about motivating salespeople to use the pad computers. He believes in pad computers because they are small and lightweight and have good screen visibility. On the other hand, the CIO foresees using the laptop computers to transmit orders and customer inventory information to corporate headquarters. She believes expanded memory and processing speed will be critical for these future applications and prefers laptops. Exhibit 3.9 shows the importance these two buying center members place on each characteristic using a 10-point scale, with 10 representing very important and 1 representing very unimportant. In this illustration the national sales man- ager and the CIO differ in the importance they place on characteristics; however, both have the same evaluations of the brands' performance on the characteristics. In some cases people may differ on both importance weights and perfor- mance ratings. Characteristic/Brand Rating Apex Bell Deltos Speed 4 8 4 RAM 3 3 8 Service availability 7 5 3 Exhibit 3.9 Information Used to Form an Overall Evaluation Importance Weights Brand Ratings Characteristic Sales Manager CIO Director Apex Bell Deltos Reliability 4 4 5 5 8 Weight 6 2 8 5 2 Display size 7 3 8 6 4 Display visibility 8 5 2 4 6 Speed 1 7 4 8 4 RAM 1 6 3 3 8 Service availability 3 3 7 5 3 Overall evaluation Sales manager's 168 150 141 MIS director's 137 157 163 82 CHAPTER 3: Buying Behavior and the Buying Process

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