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Testing Competitive Market Structures

  • Glen L. Urban

    (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

  • Philip L. Johnson

    (Management Decision Systems, Inc.)

  • John R. Hauser

    (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

An accurate understanding of the structure of competition is important in the formulation of many marketing strategies. For example, in new product launch, product reformulation, or positioning decisions, the strategist wants to know which of his competitors will be most affected and hence most likely to respond. Many marketing science models have been proposed to identify market structure. In this paper we examine the managerial problem and propose a criterion by which to judge an identified market structure. Basically, our criterion is a quantification of the intuitive managerial criterion that a “submarket” is a useful conceptualization if it identifies which products are most likely to be affected by “our” marketing strategies. We formalize this criterion within the structure of classical hypothesis testing so that a marketing scientist can use statistical statements to evaluate a market structure identified by: (1) behavioral hypotheses, (2) managerial intuition, or (3) market structure identification algorithms. Mathematically, our criterion is based on probabilities of switching to products in the situation where an individual's most preferred product is not available. ‘Submarkets' are said to exist when consumers are statistically more likely to buy again in that ‘submarket' than would be predicted based on an aggregate “constant ratio” model. For example, product attributes (e.g., brand, form, size), use situations (e.g., coffee in the morning versus coffee at dinner), and user characteristics (e.g., heavy versus light users) are specified as hypotheses for testing alternate competitive structures. Measurement and estimation procedures are described and a convergent approach is illustrated. An application of the methodology to the coffee market is presented and managerial implications of six other applications are described briefly.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mksc.3.2.83
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Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Marketing Science.

Volume (Year): 3 (1984)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 83-112

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Handle: RePEc:inm:ormksc:v:3:y:1984:i:2:p:83-112
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