Marketers throughout the world have extensively used perceptual mapping for over thirty years now. Most companies use perceptual maps before they embark on to any new brand positioning activity.
So what is the secret behind the popularity of perceptual mapping?
Perceptual maps with easy to understand graphic representations, make the most complicated market information, simple. Needless to say, graphics speak much more than numbers or words, and that's the reason behind its popularity. A perceptual map helps you get a comparative perspective with regards to competition, consumer behavior, market trends etc. in the form of graphics. The most commonly used two dimensional maps are highly effective with their visual impact. They are simple to read and help in quick strategic decision making.
A perceptual map is the output to multi-dimensional scaling. Perceptual mapping can be used to give you that additional insight into the current position of your product and its potential in the face of competition.
You can perceive and visualize your brand like never before and what's more, even make it a reality. Perceptual mapping will help you find out how your brand is positioned as compared to your competitors.
Perceptual mapping helps to communicate the relationship between competitors and the criteria used by your consumers while making purchase decisions. Perceptual maps, being simple graphic figures, can pave the path towards strategic thinking and trigger discussions.
There are various statistical and mathematical methods used to produce perceptual maps, however, published research has found that multi-dimensional scaling provides the most reliable methodology.
The following is an example of a perceptual map:
Perceptual map of competing products
Rating scales provide the data required for perceptual mapping. These rating scales will have the subjects of the map described on the basis of selected attributes. The term of validity of the map depends on the overall set of attributes as well as the subjects. The subset of attributes and subjects evaluated by each respondent also play a role in the validity of the map.
The raw data collected form a survey can be converted into a perceptual map through an assortment of statistical procedures. Multi-dimensional scaling will produce ideal points and competitor positions.
If you want to test the waters before you launch a product or before you contemplate on a new brand positioning strategy, you can benefit from using a perceptual map. Perceptual mapping serves multiple marketing functions, including:
If you are planning on launching a new product in an area with a high density of ideal points without competitors, we can help you find an area free from competitors. Our perceptual mapping/brand position analysis services can help you map relationships between competitors and the customer perception in making purchase decisions and recommendations.
Our in-depth and customized reports can give your decision makers greater insight and help them in making important decisions. The reports that we provide can determine the position of a product, brand or a company relative to your competition. Apart from displaying consumers’ perceptions of related products in our perceptual mapping reports, we will also analyze your consumers' ideal points.
In the following map, you can see your competitors’ products at different levels. While some of your competitors’ products fall within the high quality and high price quality, there are other products that fall within the low price and low quality category.
By using such a perceptual map, you can identify the category under which you can offer your product. In the following map, there are not many competitors in the medium price and quality range. You can probably choose this spot to launch your new product.
The following map shows consumer perceptions of various airlines on the dimensions of Affordable/ Onboard comforts and Entertainment/Services. Most customers felt that Airline K was the most affordable and had good services, while Airline I had onboard comforts with the best entertainment facilities. If you are planning on starting a new airline company, you will have to find an area on the map that is free from competitors.
The points on the following map display the ideal combinations of two dimensions as seen by customers. This map shows a few customers' ideal points in regarding automobile products. The dots on the map represent each customer’s ideal combination of the two dimensions.
The cluster of points on the map, such as C or D represents a market segment. Demand voids refer to the areas on the map where there are no ideal points. A new company planning to introduce an automobile must look for areas with a high density of ideal points.
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