Perceptual maps are often used in marketing to help understand the key competitors in the marketplace. Typically, in a marketing textbook, the topic of perceptual maps is covered in the chapter on market segmentation, target marketing and positioning. Basically a perceptual map helps marketers describe the market positioning of brands and products.
While the concept of a perceptual map may be relatively straightforward, I (see about me) have found that students often have some difficulty in being able to produce a suitable chart using an Excel spreadsheet. Excel certainly has the capacity to create a perceptual map (using either a bubble chart or a scatter chart format), but the user requires a reasonable level of expertise to produce the perceptual map successfully.
Therefore, I have developed an easy to use Excel spreadsheet that you can download for free. You simply need to enter your attributes, brands and data into the cells and your perceptual map is automatically created for you to copy and paste into your reports.
There are also lots of examples included on this website. You will find them on almost every page including: map examples and positioning strategy and understanding competitive sets.
Types of Perceptual Maps
In most introductory marketing textbooks you will find the very straightforward two axis perceptual map. That is an excellent map to help understand and visualize the concept of brand/product positioning. And it is also frequently used in real-life business analysis.
However, there are several other useful formats for perceptual maps. These maps are discussed on their own pages – just follow the links below – and keep in mind that all of the perceptual maps shown on this website can be easily made within minutes by using the free Excel spreadsheet template – just follow the easy how-to guide.
- Multi-attribute perceptual maps
- Joint Space Maps
- Repositioning maps
- Using perceptual maps to show competitive sets
And don’t forget, if you get stuck for ideas for the attributes for the axis labels, there is a page for that too.
Overall Similarities (OS) Perceptual Map
Another type of a perceptual map is known as an overall similarities perceptual map. This map is constructed quite differently as consumers are asked how similar brands/products are – that is, on a scale (quite similar, somewhat similar and so on). You may come across this perceptual map in some more advanced marketing subjects.
This website also has information and a template for Overall Similarities (OS) Perceptual Maps.
Learn More about Segmentation, Target Marketing, Positioning and Perceptual Maps
Perceptual mapping is a technique that essentially visualizes the core marketing activity of segmentation, targeting and positioning (which is often referred to as the STP process). I have an eBook available in PDF that reviews these important topics for just $2.99. Click the book’s image to learn more.