Perceptual mapping is a graphics technique used by asset marketers that attempts to visually display the perceptions of customers or potential customers. Typically the position of a product, product line, brand, or company is displayed relative to their competition.
Creating a Perceptual Map
The way to determine a product or service's current position in the marketplace compared to the competition is with a customer perceptual map.
Example: Choose a product or service and identify three companies who manufacture it. For example, you might choose peanut butter as the product you will study. Then identify three peanut butter manufacturers. Next create two questions about how the peanut butter product is positioned compared to its competitors, the other two brands of peanut butter. Ask six people your questions and plot their answers on your perceptual map. Analyze your results, draw conclusions (such as, do you think the product or service is competing head-on or is avoiding competition?), and if needed, make recommendations about the positioning of your chosen product.
Perceptual maps can have any number of dimensions but the most common is two dimensions. Any more is a challenge to draw and confusing to interpret.
1) The first perceptual map below shows consumer perceptions of various automobiles on the two dimensions of sportiness/conservative and classy/affordable. This sample of consumers felt Porsche was the sportiest and classiest of the cars in the study (top right corner). They felt Plymouth was most practical and conservative (bottom left corner).
Cars that are positioned close to each other are seen as similar on the relevant dimensions by the consumer. For example consumers see Buick, Chrysler, and Oldsmobile as similar. They are close competitors and form a competitive grouping. A company considering the introduction of a new model will look for an area on the map free from competitors. Some perceptual maps use different size