Buying center

From CEOpedia | Management online
Buying center
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Buying center consists of every person who is involved in an act of buying in a particular company. These people, for instance, might be the architect designing a new research facility, the scientist working in the laboratories or executives such as purchasing manager, chief executive officer or vice president of research. Every member of the buying center aims to satisfy their personal needs. Those needs may be need of participation or status. Formal organizational structure does not contain a buying center. Its composition and size may vary from transaction or company as its an informal group[1].

Roles in a buying center

Every participant of a buying center has an individual role, varying from each member[2][3]:

  • Initiator is the one who suggested purchasing a product in the first place.
  • Users are the people using the purchased product. Usually, they take part in initiating the purchase and define required specifications.
  • Gatekeeper is the one who controls flow of the information. For instance, this role may be taken by a purchasing agent or a secretary that determines who gets an appointment with a buyer.
  • Influencer also known as evaluator provides specifications and technical information. Influencers mostly consist of technical personnel.
  • Decider is the one responsible for choosing the product. It is usually difficult to appoint one specific person who made a particular decision.
  • Buyer or a purchaser is the one with the authority to purchase a product and negotiate details of the transaction. It might be a purchasing agent or even a president of the company, which depends on how important is a particular purchase.

Compositon of a buying center

How big of a role one person plays in a buying center may vary from one situation to another. The center may change because it adjusts to the current situation. Because purchase made by an organization is thought of as a process, not an individual event importance or rather an influence of certain people changes with time. For example, a design engineer plays a key role in the beginning, and later more influence is given to other individuals. Essentially, the overall composition of a buying center may depend on a company, specific transaction, or even a stage in which this transaction actually is[4].

Importance of a buying center

In the industrial markets, purchase decisions of buying centers play a key role. In order to provide the best marketing strategy for themselves sellers analyze roles and behaviors of buying centers. They identify members of a buying center, especially the quantity of them, their functions, spot in the company's hierarchy, and how much influence do they have. They are especially focused on the deciders. Thanks to that kind of analysis, it is easier for sellers to finalize a purchase transaction[5].


  1. Boone L., Kurtz D. (2008)
  2. Boone L., Kurtz D. (2008)
  3. Lamb C. W., Hair J. F., McDaniel C. (2008)
  4. Hutt M. D., Speh T. W. (2009)
  5. Gaggl M. (2014)


Author: Kacper Klimek