Understanding Marketing Multi Attribute Model Simplified

Manik Chhabra • Last Modified: August 30th, 2023

Understanding Multi Attribute Model

Digital Marketing has become one of the most popular techniques that businesses rely on to market their products. This is because these techniques allow businesses to reach a wider audience and efficiently measure the performance of their marketing efforts in a way that can be easily visualized and communicated to decision-makers. This allows them to plan future Marketing strategies and campaigns accordingly.

All these efforts to promote the products & services and plan strategies would be rendered useless if businesses are not able to understand the behavioral patterns of their customers and refine their products & strategies accordingly. This article will help you understand what Multi Attribute Models are, how businesses can use them to understand the behavior of their customers, and how customers evaluate products available in the market.

Table of Contents

Introduction to Consumer Attitude

Consumer Attitude can be seen as a reflection of consistent favorable or unfavorable feelings/perceptions that consumers develop after their evaluation of a product or service. A consumer’s attitude towards the brands that are available in the market has a significant influence over their purchase inclinations and their ability to recommend the product to their peers. Most brands now keep track of Customer Attitudes and perform a comprehensive analysis of this data to understand what drives customer behavior. 

Tracking Customer Attitude is however a complex operation since these attitudes develop over a long period of time and are based on their experiences across various touchpoints. These touchpoints could include various possible exposures such as digital advertisements, word of mouth exposure or directly paying for the product. Most businesses use market research surveys to understand the attitude of consumers towards their products. This gives them detailed information on the Customer’s Attitude which can help them build an effective Multi Attribute Attitude Model.

Attitude is usually composed of three components:

1) Knowledge and Cognitive Component

The Knowledge Component reflects in the knowledge a consumer obtains about a product from their interactions with others and their own experiences.

2) Feeling and Affect Component

The Feeling Component is a reflection of the customer’s own evaluation of the product resulting in feelings of favorableness and unfavourableness. 

3) Behavioral and Conative Component

The Behavioral Component is a reflection of the consumer’s tendency to perform an action such as paying for the product.

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Introduction to Attitude Functions

The attitude/perception of a consumer towards a product can help them evaluate whether paying for its usage is worth the investment. Other than helping customers evaluate the product, Consumer Attitude also helps perform other functions which are as follows:

1) Utilitarian Function

Ultirian Function is based on rewards or punishments. This means that attitudes are developed over how much pleasure the product will bring to its consumer. For example, people tend to buy different kinds of clothes for different occasions because having suited clothing for each occasion will help people fit in and hence, cause relief.

2) Ego Defensive Function

The Ego Defensive Function helps consumers develop an attitude that helps them justify something that they know is threatening but choose to ignore it. This attitude provides a defense mechanism for the consumer to deal with things they know are wrong or are insecure about. For example, overweight people tend to buy loose clothes so that it makes them look thinner since a lot of them are insecure about how they look.

3) Value Expressive Function

The Value Expressive Function allows consumers to develop an attitude that helps them express their beliefs, ideologies, and core values to others. For example, if someone is very conscious about using environment-friendly products and they wish to buy a car, they would not buy a car with a Diesel engine but would prefer to buy an electric car even if it costs a little extra. Most companies manufacturing electric cars try to appeal to the environment-friendly values within people as a part of their Marketing Strategy.

4) Knowledge Function

The Knowledge Function helps consumers make a decision on whether they want to buy a product or not solely based on the knowledge and information that they have of the organization and their offerings. For example, a lot of people that can afford Apple products tend to buy the new products released by Apple as soon as they’re available. This is because most of these people trust the brand and know that Apple will always provide the best quality products and support to all its customers.

Introduction to Multi Attribute Model

The Multi Attribute Model breaks down the consumer’s overall attitude and behavior into smaller components. These components could be perceived benefits, functions, product features, etc., and are collectively known as Product Attributes. Hence, it can be said that according to the Multi Attribute Model, a consumer’s attitude towards a product is a function of the consumer’s perception of the product features, and their belief of the key attributes.

The 3 types of Multi Attribute Models are as follows:

1) The Attitude-towards-Object Multi Attribute Model

The Attitude-towards-Object Multi Attribute Model states that a consumer’s attitude towards a product is a function of the presence or absence of certain attributes, and the corresponding evaluation of those attributes.

The overall attitude of a consumer towards a product is represented by the following formula:

A jk = ∑ B ijk * I ik

i = attribute
j = product
k = consumer
I = importance of attribute ‘i’ for consumer ‘k’
B = belief of consumer ‘k’ regarding the extent to which product ‘j’ possesses attribute ‘i’
A = overall attitude score of product ‘j’ for consumer ‘i’

For example, suppose a student has to make a decision of which college he should join. The student starts listing all possible attributes that can affect his decision and how important each of these attributes are. The list of attributes are as follows:

Colleges Required Attributes
Image Source: https://www.slideshare.net/vipinojha/multi-attribute-attitude-model-91157963

The student then lists out the possible colleges he is considering for admission and then assigns a score to each attribute on how well each college possesses the attributes or functionalities he’s considering. The scores assigned to each college for each attribute are as follows:

Consumer Attitude Scores
Image Source: https://www.slideshare.net/vipinojha/multi-attribute-attitude-model-91157963

Based on the formula stated above, an overall Attitude Score for each college can be calculated. The overall Attitude Score for IIT is as follows:

IIT = (6*8) + (7*9) + (4*2) + (3*2) + (1*1) + (2*1) + (5*7) = 163

Similarly, the overall Attitude Scores for IIIT = 142, NIT = 153, and REC = 131

Hence, it can be concluded that the best college based on the Attitude Scores of the student would be IIT.

2) The Attitude-towards-Behavior Multi Attribute Model

The Attitude-towards-Behavior Multi Attribute Model focuses more on the consumer’s behavior towards the product rather than the feeling or affect towards the attribute. The basic idea is that a consumer might have a positive attitude towards various attributes that a product houses but have a negative attitude towards subscribing to the product.

A = ∑ B i * E i

A = attitude of a consumer towards a product
B = strength of belief that the action ‘i’ would lead to an outcome
E = consumer evaluation of an action ‘i’

For example, suppose an individual wants to buy a smartphone for regular use. There are hundreds of options available in today’s market. The individual comes across Apple iPhone 11 which costs around $849. Upon going through all the available features, the individual concludes that the iPhone is one of the best phones available in the market with great features and quality support. This indicates that the individual formed an overall positive attitude towards the product and had a high Attitude Score for the Apple iPhone 11.

The individual however chooses to not buy the phone because he felt that the cost of the phone was too high and it did not make sense to spend so much on a smartphone and chose to go for an Android Smartphone which costs less. It can be seen in this situation that the individual had an overall positive attitude towards the product but his negative attitude towards paying for an expensive smartphone affected the final outcome.

3) The Theory-of-Reasoned-Action Multi Attribute Model

The Theory-of-Reasoned-Action Multi Attribute Model attempts to incorporate the impact of instances of behavior and other Subjective Norms that have the ability to influence a consumer’s decision-making skills. This model takes into consideration that a consumer’s behavior is based on their intention to act. The Subjective Norms are measured by assessing the attitude of consumers and other referents such as friends, family, coworkers, etc. These Subjective Norms take into consideration the beliefs of specific referents on whether the action should be performed or not and the motivation of the consumers to comply with the beliefs of these referents.

The following image illustrated the Theory-of-Reasoned-Action Multi Attribute Model:

Theory-of-Reasoned-Action Multi Attribute Model
Image Source: https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/25714644.pdf

For example, suppose there is a graduate student who wishes to write the GMAT exam to get admitted into a good university for his MBA. Theory-of-Reasoned-Action Multi Attribute Model that covers each block from the above diagram for this situation would be as follows:

  • Behavior: Study hard for the GMAT exam.
  • Intention: He wishes to get into a good university so he wants to ensure that his preparation is well enough to get a good score.
  • Intention Impacted By:
    • Consumer’s Attitude Towards Behavior: The student has a positive attitude towards studying hard to get a good score.
    • Subjective Norms: The student’s parents approve of his decision to go abroad for higher education.
  • Consumer’s Attitude Impacted By:
    • The Belief that Behavior Leads to Specific Outcomes: The student believes that if he prepares well for the exam, he will get a good score.
    • Evaluation of the Outcomes: A good GMAT score will help him get admission into a good university.
  • Subjective Norms Impacted By:
    • Beliefs of Specific Referents: The student’s parents obviously want him to do well in life and hence, want him to study hard and get admission to a good university.
    • Motivation to Comply with Specific Referents: The student wants to fulfill the wishes of his parents.


This article provided you with an in-depth understanding of what Consumer Attitude is, various types of attitude functions, and how this attitude can impact the behavior of consumers. It also helped you understand the various types of Multi Attribute Models that businesses use to comprehend the impact of Consumer Attitude. This allows businesses to plan future their strategies to ensure all consumers have a positive attitude towards their product and brand.

In order to perform a comprehensive analysis to understand the performance of your Marketing efforts, the first step to perform is to create a Single Source of Truth (SSOT) from which all required data for the analysis can be extracted. This is required since most businesses now use multiple platforms for Digital Marketing and hence, Marketing Data is spread across multiple platforms. Creating a data integration platform is a complex operation and would require a high amount of resources. Businesses can instead use existing platforms like Hevo.

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