Perceptual Mapping/ Positioning Map
Firms use perceptual or positioning maps to help them develop a market positioning strategy for their product or service. As the maps are based on the perception of the buyer they are sometimes called perceptual maps. Positioning maps show where existing products and services are positioned in the market so that the firm can decide where they would like to place (position) their product. Firms have two options they can either position their product so that it fills a gap in the market or if they would like to compete against their competitors they can position it where existing products have placed their product.
The diagram below is a Perceptual Map of UK chocolate confectionery Brands
Drawing a Perceptual (Positioning) Map
Theoretically a perceptual map can have any number of lines, to keep things simple they usually have 2 lines the x and y axis. The x axis goes left to right and the y axis goes bottom to top. Any criteria can be used for the map for example price, quality, status, features, safety and reliability. Once the two lines have been drawn and labelled existing products will be placed onto the map.
Example Perceptual Map
In the example below two dimensions price and quality have been used. If we plot the UK chocolate market, we can identify where existing chocolate brands have been positioned by manufacturers. For example our fictional brand of Belgian chocolates called Belgium Chocolates are high quality and high price so they are placed in the top right hand box, whilst Twix is an affordable "every day" treat chocolate so it has been placed in the bottom left hand square, in the low quality low price brand box.