The FCB Grid or FCB Matrix was developed by Vaughn in 1980 for the market research agency Foote, Cone and Belding.
It is a marketing model that classifies purchase or choice situations into four different categories.
These are based on the involvement of the consumer (high / low) and the purchase motive (rational / emotional) that the consumer uses.
Vaughn developed the FCB matrix by drawing together the main theories of consumer behavior and advertising. Vaughn investigated four traditional theories of advertising whose effects on sales were good and immediately noticeable.
The four theories are: economic, reactive, psychological and social. Each theory corresponds to the four sides in the FCB matrix.
Four sides in the matrix are based on these two dimensions (involvement and rationality / emotion). Rational purchases are purchases that have been carefully considered. The consumer weighs facts against each other and on that basis makes the choice that seems the most sensible to him. Emotional purchases are purchases that are still being considered, but where the emotional value is also included in the consideration to purchase.
A good example of this is the purchase of a specific brand product. A high level of involvement means that the consumer considers the fulfillment of the need for the product important. The importance of the product is perceived as great by the consumer. Low involvement means that the consumer has little to do with the product offered. The consumer experiences the product as necessary but unimportant. Food is often given as an example for products where most consumers have a low involvement.
The sides of the FCB matrix represent the four main goals in an advertising strategy: being informative and affective, cultivating habits or promoting the satisfaction of your own needs.
The division into four categories suggests that a purchase is different if in one case rational thinking is considered, and in the other case the feeling prevails in the decision. In addition, there are other situations, resulting in decision-making processes that require more or less involvement of rationality or emotion.
The FCB Grid, FCB Matrix or also called product category matrix, is formed using these two dimensions. Vaughn claims that the horizontal side of the matrix is based on the hypothesis that over time the decision-making process of the consumer moves from rational to emotional as prevailing in decision-making. He also believes that a high or low involvement, the vertical side of the matrix, also slowly shifts.
The FCB Grid / FCB Matrix is a practical tool for marketing strategists to visualize the buying behavior of the consumer. Advertisers can define an advertising strategy, depending on the consumer’s need for information, attitude and behavior. In this way, it is also possible to examine in the interim whether the desired target group is being addressed and whether something needs to be done about, for example, the involvement of the customer.
The involvement of a customer plays in relation to convincing loyalty an important role. Only when the customer is involved will he be able to get the emotional feelings needed to become convinced loyal. This loyalty generally manifests itself in behavior (repeat purchases) and attitude (including strongly positive feelings towards the product). A customer who carries out repeat purchases of a brand product, but does not have strong emotional feelings, is not convinced loyal. In this case it is rather a purchase out of habit instead of conviction.
A customer who buys without conviction will be more inclined to show disloyalty towards the brand. With this in mind, it is important for marketers to focus on creating involvement with the target group in their communications. Loyalty programs actively contribute to the positioning within certain product categories and play an important role in creating desired brand feelings.
Every theory also needs scientific research that can validate the conclusions, to show companies that the theory is right in practice. The first matrix-test was in the United States among 1,800 consumers over 250 product categories. It turned out that products were generally positioned as expected, and some ‘think’ and ‘feel’ items matched the involvement.
These results suggested that it was possible to have varying amounts of thinking and feeling-high or low-depending on the involvement of the consumer. Internationally, the matrix was tested by conducting a survey among more than 20,000 consumers in 23 countries. The results suggest that consumer decision-making processes in different countries largely correspond, despite the differences in means of communication and existing norms and values.