How To Use Perceptual Mapping for Better Marketing 2023

product positioning map

Visually represent customers’ perceptions of your company, brand, product, or service. Enroll in our Positioning Masters Certified course, and uncover the essentials of product positioning, a strategic exercise used to find a product or service’s place in the market. A customer needs analysis is used to help companies figure out their position in their respective competitive markets and how they’re positioned in terms of meeting their target customers’ needs. In 2020, 3.96bn people were using social media platforms – pretty crazy, right? This creates an invaluable pool of feedback for companies whereby they can monitor their customers’ social media posts and see what’s being said about their company and the services they offer. Finally, a perceptual map can also reveal how far away you are from being perceived as the best—that is, how far you are away from what we call the “nirvana point” that customers in the segment want.

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This chart should not only include your brand’s position relative to the two attributes you’re measuring against, but also the position of your competitors. That way, you can get an at-a-glance understanding of how the consumer perceives each brand—individually and relative to one another. A perceptual map is a chart used to illustrate where a product or brand and its competitors are positioned according to consumer perception.

Step 5: Create The Map

It can include various metrics such as price, quality, and popularity, helping businesses understand where they fit within their industry and how they compare to their competitors. Perceptual maps are created through market research and focus groups that gauge consumer preferences and perceptions. A perceptual map template is a useful tool for management, allowing them to effectively visualize customer perceptions of products or services and see how they relate to one another.

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For example, compare the viewpoints of a young adult analyzing a car’s safety and a veteran insurance salesman doing the same. It can be helpful to work through a few theoretical perceptual map examples. One of the following examples will use similarity data, and the other will utilize preference data.

Perceptual Mapping Models to Evaluate Your Stand Against Competitors

We could then leverage panel encumbrance accountings to identify an audience of routine cereal eaters. Alchemer Workflow is the fastest, easiest, and most effective way to close the loop with customers.

It is especially used in the positioning of products, product series, and brands, and also used to describe the relative position of enterprises and competitors. Firms use perceptual maps to help them develop a market positioning strategy for their product or service. Market maps compare perceived characteristics of a brand or product, whereas positioning maps evaluate the actual features. The other distinctive quality of perceptual maps is a focus on current or past positioning. Market maps mainly reflect the consumers’ impressions of reality and may not be accurate. At the same time, positioning maps measure existing market positioning but mostly pay attention to future goals.

The answer is by using a perceptual map – a nifty tool tovisualize customer perceptions. A Perceptual Map is fairly easy to make, but also has a few shortcomings. First, crucial attributes must be established, based on which a product or service is evaluated. These are important because it helps these customers choose from the offer on the market. These are crucial attributes a consumer includes in his or her decision whether or not to purchase a product or service.

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While this may be the most time-intensive step in the process, it’s also the most important. If you don’t assess your competitors correctly, then you won’t be able to build the most accurate perceptual map. A perceptual map is a diagram used for visualizing consumer perception of different brands or products. Simple maps like the one above represent just two variables, but perceptual maps can also be created using sophisticated multivariate factor analysis and statistical software.

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The results of this can show which products are seen as being substitutes for each other. This technique is commonly used in Conjoint Analysis, perceptual maps, and BCG Matrixes. For example, if a person were to map out how similar different types of shampoo are, the product attributes could be things like scent, price, or brand. Two common approaches used in perceptual mapping are the collection of similarity data and preference data.

Unlike other tools such as SWOT and PESTLE, prework is required to get the most out of a Perceptual Map. Once you have selected the parameters and a list of competitors, select the two most relevant parameters and start plotting your competitors on a two-dimensional map. At a first glance, these maps might look similar, but they analyze different parameters and represent different data. I am passionate about solving business problems by bringing the team together and removing impediments. I started my career as a business analyst before moving into product management.


Perceptual Mapping is a visualization of how customers perceive your brand and your competitor’s brand, including products and services. Creating perceptual mapping models is a technique that helps businesses prepare marketing strategies that give their products and services the most significant advantage in target markets. It also captures customer perception of specific attributes about your product or service to determine if an important feature or selling point is resonating with consumers.

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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. 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-sized circles to indicate the sales volume or market share of the various competing products. Understanding your target audience in detail and knowing all your product services, target market, and marketing strategies is helpful when conducting a competitive analysis.

Changes to marketing and sales strategies are made after findings from these maps that lead to better campaigns and more conversions. SurveySparrow has all the tools you need to create accurate perceptual. In the gingerbread example, it’s important to ask questions to obtain information on the flavour and nutritional values of gingerbread offered by competitors in the breakfast foods market. The most suitable crucial attributes depend on the subject of the study, read product or service. Another clear disadvantage of PM concerns what a company can offer and what the consumer thinks the company can offer. This could be caused by miscommunication, impact of social media, etc.


Your business model is too similar to competitors and you need to differentiate your brand. If you get as much competitor data as you can upfront, the map creation process itself will be much easier. For example, if the map’s purpose is to investigate how consumers feel about breakfast cereals, the Y axis might have “great taste” at one end, and “poor taste” at the other. The X axis might have “low nutritional value” at one end, and “high nutritional value” at the other end. Alchemer Mobile delivers actionable mobile customer feedback to improve your mobile app experience. Showcase groupings of businesses that are differentiated by key aspects.

Be sure to update your perceptual map if there are any prominent changes, such as a market shift, the introduction of new products, etc. You should then share the updated perceptual map with the key stakeholders. Running a competitive analysis can help you understand your direct and indirect competitors and their strengths and weaknesses compared to yours. In this article, we will define perceptual mapping, talk about some of its best applications, and break down how to build one yourself. Company XYZ has developed a new type of soft drink and wants to understand how it is perceived in the market. They conduct a survey where they ask people to rate how similar different types of soft drinks are on a scale of one to five, with one being not similar at all and five being very similar.

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Many organizations use this powerful, flexible framework to aid them during product development, marketing plans, and organizational strategy, or when faced with a crisis. This template is also ideal for training new hires on how to react to such an event. Benefit 5 – Understand changes in customer behavior and purchasing decisions. Maybe your customers suddenly stopped buying a certain product, or maybe they started buying that product en masse. Either way, it’s crucial to understand why so you can make decisions going forward. Geographic segmentation is when a company decides to change or focus its marketing campaign based on where its target consumer lives.

  • Over the years he has worked with companies such as Texas Instruments, Informix, Vanafi, and EMI Music Distribution to help them position their products defensively in a competitive environment.
  • Perceptual maps have been used by marketers for years to better understand a market landscape and know how customers view your products versus the competition.
  • Now we will discuss the process of constructing a perceptual map step by step.
  • Pay special attention to the differences in how respondents think about how the competition is offered.
  • This perceptual map has two vertical and horizontal axes with opposite attributes at each end.

The data required for simple maps can be collected more conveniently, which allows for quick insights. Shape what’s next with AI‑driven insights and experience management solutions built for the pace of modern business. For for chocolate, let’s use “Quality” and “Price.” You may find that Nestle scores lower on price and quality, Mars scores low on price and high in quality. Download this mini eBook to get the perfect introduction to product positioning…. Analyze the results, earmark the top competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, and provide each product with an overall score.

Since we’re here, it’s also important to mention that a perceptual map isn’t the same as a positioning map. Instead, perceptual mapping measures customer perception while positioning maps compare the actual traits of a company and its offerings. A standard perceptual positioning map is presented on a two-axis scatter chart, where each axis represents a relevant industry attribute.

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