deciding/decisive factor, determinant, clincher

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Senior Member
Hi, please imagine reading the following sentences (which I made up) in survey reports.

1. What made these respondents choose our brand? 65% said the campaign we had been running at that time was the ___________.
2. 65% of respondents chose our brand because of the campaign we were running at that time. In other words, the campaign was the ___________.

Which of these four options work(s) in the underlined parts?

a) deciding factor
b) decisive factor
c) determinant
d) clincher

"Clincher" is an informal term so I think it fits #1 (if the respondents actually used the word), but it probably works in #2 as well if the report writer wants the sentence to sound less formal.
"Determinant" is probably the wrong word to use in this context. I'm not sure if "deciding factor" or "decisive factor" works in both #1 and #2.
  • dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    I think, of the four choices, only "deciding factor" fits with the statement "respondents choose". Here are random comments on the four phrases:

    Respondents would not use "clincher". A salesperson talking to another salesperson might use the word. It is insulting to the customer. To "clinch" a sale means to "lock it in", and it means "the salesman wins". Respondents wouldn't say "the campaign won -- it beat me".

    "Deciding factor" means "This campaign gave me the (the respondent) information I used to make my decision to buy this product." It's not insulting: the customer is doing the thinking and deciding; the campaign is only providing information.

    "Decisive" is too strong. Battles that win wars are "decisive".

    "Determinant" means "the thing that determined the outcome", which sounds odd. It too sounds like the respondent didn't make the decision.
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