Perceptual Mapping

Perceptual Mapping

It is a diagrammatic technique or process used in marketing research for charting the way a sampling or selection of individuals taken from a target market perceive different companies, products or brands, also called ‘position’ mapping. Most commonly used by asset marketers as a visual display for identifying perceptions of a product, brand, or business relative to current market competition.

Generally, perceptual maps contain two dimensions but can have any number that shows consumer perceptions of various products. For example, a clothing line might consider their two dimensions to be trendy/fashionable and classy/affordable. The sample of consumers felt Brand A was trend-setting and the latest fashion, while Brand B was more conservative or classy and at the same time affordable.

However, any visual display of consumers’ perceptions of related products is only a partial look. Many perceptual maps also display consumers’ ideal points. These points reflect ideal combinations of the two dimensions as seen by a consumer.

Typically, a company considering introducing a new product will look for areas with a high density of ideal points and competitive brands or individual products. They will also look for areas without competitive rivals. This is best done by placing both the ideal points and the competing products on the same map, while others plot and display ideal vectors instead of ideal points.

Creating a perceptual map doesn’t necessarily demand a detailed study. There are also intuitive maps (also called judgmental maps or consensus maps) that are created by marketers based on their understanding of their industry.

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