The Means-end model, or MECCAS model provides a framework that allows marketers to use a feedback loop to conduct consumer research and build a brand strategy simultaneously. In the process, viable alternative marketing positions can be created and tested.
The MECCAS model is based on the Means- End theory. This theory states that consumers have abstract ideals that guide their purchasing decisions (Reynolds et al. p. 164). Products and their perceived attributes that can help the consumer achieve an end-state are valued as instruments, or “means” to achieve the desired end-state. Consumers also identify with attributes of the products that help them achieve end-states on several levels. The ways that the consumer identifies with these attributes set the product apart from all others in the same function category in the consumer’s mind.
MECCAS ladders can be constructed with several designs. A laddering models shows the direct influence of lesser attributes on greater values as such:
terminal value: Personal Gratification
instrumental value: Pleasure
psychosocial consequences: Indulgence
functional consequences: Luxuriant taste
abstract consequences: Rich Flavor
concrete consequences (descriptive attributes): Dark Chocolate
Within the laddering model, variations can occur such as several consequences leading to a single value, or divergent ladders:
terminal values: Personal Gratification and Social Harmony
instrumental values: Pleasure and Conserves resources
psychosocial consequences: Indulgence and Environmentally friendly
functional consequences: Luxuriant taste and More sustainable process (than light chocolate)
abstract consequences: Caffeine and Sugary and Rich Flavor and Fewer Chemical additives
concrete consequences: Dark Chocolate (product)
The order of items in a value level does not necessarily show importance.
According to the MECCAS model, there are several end states that consumers are constantly striving to achieve. These include social harmony, personal gratification, self-actualization, security, love, and personal contentedness. Instrumental values, which tend to be the highest level with which products are directly aligned, are subcategories of the end states and include abstract concepts such as independence, pleasure, beauty, wisdom, self-esteem, happiness, mature love and friendship.
Psychosocial consequences contribute to instrumental values. These elements in the latter deal with how the consumer interacts with their environment in terms of behavior and social patterns. As consequences, these are slightly more tangible than values, and include concepts such as self-esteem, family time, breast cancer awareness, attractiveness, and confidence.
Functional consequences are the sum of product attributes. For example, a HD television has basic attributes such as interlaced lines of resolution, 1080 progressively scanned lines. These lead to abstract attributes such as enhanced format, and modern style. Abstract attributes along with concrete attributes lead to functional consequences such as an enjoyable viewing experience.
The model is useful in the development of a product strategy because it shows key elements that motivate consumers and what the connections are between the motivators and the more tangible product attributes.
Reynolds, Thomas and Olson, Jerry. Understanding Consumer Decision Making; The
Means-End Approach to Marketing and Advertising Strategy. Lawrence Erlbaum
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