There are three broad concepts associated with this tutorial: Differentiation, Positioning, and Mapping. Differentiation is the creation of tangible or intangible differences on one or two key dimensions between a focal product and its main competitors. Positioning refers to the set of strategies organizations develop and implement to ensure that these differences occupy a distinct and important position in the minds of customers. Thus, Kentucky Fried Chicken differentiates its chicken products by using a unique blend of spices, cooking vessels, and cooking processes and positions its products as “finger-lickin’ good.” Mapping refers to techniques that enable managers to develop differentiation and positioning strategies by helping them to visualize the competitive structure of their markets as perceived by their customers. Typically, data for mapping are customer perceptions of existing products (and new concepts) along various attributes, perceptions of similarities between brands, customer preferences for products, or measures of behavioral response of customers toward the products (e.g., current market shares of the products). Maps generated by this software are spatial representations in Euclidean space that have the following characteristics: (1) The pairwise distances between product alternatives directly indicate the “perceived similarities” between any pair of products, i.e., how close or far apart the products are in the minds of customers. (2) A vector on the map (shown by a blue or red line) indicates both magnitude and direction in the Euclidean space. The length of a vector indicates its magnitude. A blue vector geometrically denotes product attributes (i.e., direction in which the labeled attribute corresponding to a vector is increasing) and a red vector denotes the direction in which an individual’s preferences are increasing. (3) The axes of the map are a special set of vectors that could represent the underlying dimensions that best characterize how customers differentiate between alternatives. One way to interpret the axes is to look for attributes that are most closely correlated with each axis. The smaller the angle between an axis and an attribute, the higher is the correlation. This software implements the MDPREF perceptual mapping model, which is based on a factor-analytic procedure. In addition, the software implements PREFMAP-3, which enables users to introduce for each respondent a preference-vector onto a given perceptual map. Typically, a perceptual map is derived from the averaged perception data from a target segment, whereas the preference map is derived from individuallevel preference data. This two-step procedure, referred to as joint-space mapping with external analysis, is based on the assumption that a target
Marketing Management and Strategy, Chapter 4
segment has a common set of perceptions among the choice alternatives, but each respondent has different preferences for those alternatives. For example, Volvo may be perceived to be a safe car by all respondents, but only some respondents may have high preference for Volvo. (Note: All the procedures in this software are based on “vector” methods. Thus, we do not include “ideal-point” or unfolding models.)
The following example illustrates the use of mapping for developing a positioning strategy for Infiniti G20. We describe the data in detail in the exercise. From the Model menu, select Positioning Analysis. You will be prompted for a data file. For this example, select the file called G20.DAT. If you enter your own data sets, make sure that the columns are the products (or alternatives to be evaluated) and the rows contain the attribute evaluations of the products.
After the file loads, you will see the following split-screen window:
NOTE: If you make changes to the data to evaluate alternative solutions,
the program will not automatically save these...