Perceptual Mapping

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Tool Summary: Perceptual Mapping

Objectives

A detailed explanation of how perceptual mapping works, what it does, and what are its critical assumptions •An application of how perceptual mapping was used, i.e., describing an application of the tool in detail, focusing on procedure, calculations, results, and interpretation.

Background

Branding; is defined by Charles W. Lamb, co-author of Marketing: sixth edition; as a name, term, symbol, design, or combination thereof that identifies a seller’s product or service and differentiates them from competitors’ products. Perhaps, the successful of many businesses has been attributed to the positioning of a product or service associated to a brand that consumers would easily grasp and differentiate from other products within a category.

Understanding how consumers store information in memory is essential in brand development, according to Dawn Iacobucci, editor of Kellogg on Marketing. A product or service “brand” might have three types of associations: attributes, people, and occasions. “Attributes are physical characteristics of a product such as its color, size, and flavor. People and occasions together are regarded as image.” Most brand positioning involves a combination of attributes and image.

Perhaps, consumers typically do not make decisions on the basis of attributes or image alone. Rather they use a combination of both to infer some benefit, adds Iacobucci. A benefit is an abstract concept such as convenience, pleasure, or fun. The rationale for a benefit is the fact that it has some attributes or that certain people use it on particular occasions. An example is how the beer industry emphasize the taste benefit supported by specifying the brand’s choice by showing young adults enjoying it at social gatherings, sports, or at home with friends.

Therefore, perceptual mapping has become essential in the development or repositioning of a product or service for any marketing manager. Since perceptual mapping, according to Dr. Zafar Iqbal PhD professor of marketing at DePaul University, is a special representation in which customer perceptions for competitors’ brands are represented in a Euclidean space.

Consequently, the use of perceptual mapping as a marketing tool allows marketing managers to identify and visualize a map of the marketplace in which the brands are positioned against one another vying for the spot in which consumers desire the most. Perceptual Mapping

In order to create a reliable visual representation of the market input from customers or the target market are key. Perhaps, perceptual mapping provides a visual representation of customer’s perceptions. Consequently, perceptual maps are useful for deciding product positioning or repositioning; comparison between companies’ views of product positioning with customers’ perceptions; or identifying a competitive set(s).

To develop the map, at least four focus group needs to be conducted in order to identify which are the attributes of the products or services that are characteristics and relevant. The attributes and products would vary according to the objective of the study. Perhaps, the study could have a strategic positioning or tactical positioning objective.

Subsequently, once all attributes are identified, the development and implementation of a survey is essential in order to obtain perception data. The survey would ask consumers using the attribute rating method (AR) and overall similarity method (OS). The AR method would ask consumers to rate a list of attributes for each product or service.

Once the perception data is obtained through the survey. Using factor analysis, the data would be reduced without significant loss of information and find systematically underlying patterns and inter-relationships among variables (attributes). Moreover, the use of factor analysis would allow the individual(s) to use the input (brands x attributes) to create a matrix of...
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