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A buying center, in marketing, procurement, and organizational studies, is a group of employees responsible for purchasing an item for the organization. In a business setting, major purchases typically require input from various parts of the organization, including finance, accounting, purchasing, information technology management, and senior management. Highly technical purchases, such as information systems or production equipment, also require the expertise of technical specialists. In some cases the buying center is an informal ad hoc group, but in other cases, it is a formally sanctioned group with specific mandates, criteria, and procedures. The employees that constitute the buying center will vary depending on the item being purchased.
In a generic sense, there are typically five roles within any buying center. They are:
- End users of the item being purchased.
- Buyers who are responsible for the contract .
- Influencers who try to affect the outcome decision with their opinions.
- Deciders who make the final decision.
- Gatekeepers who control the flow of information.
Because of the speciallized nature of computer and software purchases, many corporations use buying centers that are specialized for information technology acquisition. These specialized buying centers typically receive information about the technology from commercial sources, peers, publications, and experience. In this process, top management, the IT director, IT professionals, and other users participate together to find a solution.
- Trondsen, T. J. Some Characteristics of Adopters of a Major Innovation in the Computer Field and Its Potential Use in Marketing. Industrial Marketing Management Volume: 25 Issue: 6 (November 1996), pp: 567-576
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