Perceptual Maps in Marketing The use of perceptual maps is a strong tool in the marketing world. Perceptual maps visually represent what the consumer thinks about a product or brand. To make a perceptual map several attributes of the product are placed on different axis and from that point a grid is made to represent how strong or weak the consumers view each attribute. Making a perceptual map is a good way for mangers to decide on a good marketing strategy for the product, and which attributes need work.
The simulation used Thorr Motors, a company specializing in motorcycles, to give an example of how perceptual maps are used in the marketing world. The company is experiencing a decrease in sales of the CruiserThorr, once a popular motorcycle and strong seller for the company. This paper will address the three major phases of the simulation, explain the relationship between differentiation and positioning of products, and explain the effect of the product life cycle on marketing. Perceptual Map Simulation
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With the CruiserThorr decreasing in sales over the past few years, management is working on developing a new marketing strategy to attract a younger generation of consumers. The simulation went through the steps of developing and interpreting a perceptual map to increase sales. The demonstration also went through the steps of choosing the right parameters to launch a new product that appeals to a different age range of customers. Phase One The first phase of the simulation required the choosing of the fundamental parameters for the CruiserThorr in order to start the process of making the perceptual map.
The selections made included: Price, lifestyle image, quality engineering, and service offerings. These selections seemed to be the most important to the consumer. Lifestyle image is placed high for the CruiserThorr and the company can use any information received about the lifestyle image of the bike will be useful to keep an image that satisfies both older and younger generations. Price is probably one of the most important considerations for the consumer when purchasing the product.
For the company to appeal to younger generations keeping the price low is a key factor, as younger generations do not have as much disposable income as some of the older generation. Gathering information on how low the price can go without tarnishing the brand image of the bikes will be a vital ingredient in the marketing strategy for Thorr Motors. The consumers also place importance on the quality of the bike. This is a necessary choice if the company wants to maintain the high image of the brand.
Service offerings are an important parameter because the CruiserThorr does not come with as many services as some of the competitors. If a customer sees a lot of services being offered with the product the more likely the customer is to want to purchase the product. For the first phase of the simulation all fundamental parameters were chosen correctly. Phase Two The second major phase of the simulation gave the options of either changing the marketing strategy and repositioning the CrusierThorr, or releasing a new motorcycle, the RRoth, to appeal to the younger generation of motorcyclists.
The decision made was to launch the new motorcycle, the RRoth, to boost the sales of the company and appeal to a younger generation. The price range of the new motorcycle was set at $13,000-$15,000 in order to stay within a reasonable budget for younger consumers. The promotions chosen for the new bike were free test rides, sponsoring events such as Daytona, and free giveaway merchandise. These methods appeal to young consumers. Young consumers would enjoy free test rides on the new bike and free giveaway merchandise.
While sponsoring events such as Daytona creates brand recognition while also showcasing the new bike to millions of people at a time. The places chosen to promote the RRoth were the Internet, specifically the Manufacturer’s website, dealers and the distributers. The internet is accessible and widely used by young consumers and using the Internet to promote the new product would prove beneficial to the company. The services chosen were customization options, training for dealers, and financial services.
Customization options give the RRoth a “cool” image that appeals to young consumers, while training for dealers allows the dealers to give accurate and detailed information about the bike so the consumer feels led to purchase the bike. Since young consumers do not have a large disposable income, offering financial services allows the option of purchasing the bike without having to have all the money at one time or having to finance through a bank or another source. Phase Three The third phase of the research requires interpretation of market research after one year of implementing the new marketing plan.
In addition the RRoth’s perceptual map is created by choosing the relevant attributes. The CruiserThorr had a rating of 5 for price, because people viewed the bike as expensive when compared to other bikes. A lifestyle image of 9 was chosen because the bike fit the image the consumer wanted. Service offerings rated a 7 because some of the competitors offered more services. Quality engineering of the CruiserThorr rated an 8 because customers trust that the quality of the bikes from Thorr Motors is high and the company has a high brand image.
The RRoth was rated an 8 for price because the motorcycle is cheaper than the CruiserThorr and appeals to young consumers. A rating of 8 was given for cool because the bike is powerful and geared towards a young crowd. Lifestyle image was rated at 7 because a high percentage of consumers view the brand as a status symbol. Quality engineering was also rated a 7 because the consumers have a high standard of quality for the brand. Differentiation and Positioning Differentiation and positioning are crucial roles in the marketing strategy.
Simply doing one without implementing the other will not lead to a successful marketing strategy. For the buyer to have reason to purchase the product or service the product or service needs to be differentiated from the competitors (Tehrani, 2002). Merely differentiating a product does not guarantee success in the marketing world. The product must also be properly positioned. Positioning is reverse thinking. Instead of thinking about the company or product first, the consumer is thought of first (Kotelnikov, 2001). The repositioning of the product in the simulation led to the outcome that was anticipated.
A major issue the company encountered was the changing perceptions of the consumers. The product was still of good value, but the consumers wants were changing. The company offered a new product to attract young consumers while restoring the image of the old product. This marketing strategy proved to be a success for the company. Product Life Cycle Businesses must be aware of the product life cycle for a product to have success in the business world. The product life cycle consists of the introduction of the product, product growth, maturity, and eventually decline of the product (The Product Life Cycle, 2010).
The product life cycle affects marketing because the manager must stay aware of which phase of the life cycle the product is in, at any given period of time. As the product reaches the decline phase of the product life cycle the manager can either decide to discontinue the product and introduce a new more up-to-date product, or the company can reposition the old product so that it will appeal to the consumer base again. Conclusion The simulation illustrated how to correctly make and interpret a perceptual map and gave informative tips on repositioning products.
Perceptual maps are vital in the success of products on the market. Perceptual maps allow managers to see what areas of a product need improvement and which areas need to be maintained at the same level. Kotelnikov, V. (2001). Positioning. Retrieved from: http://www. 1000ventures. com/business_guide/crosscuttings/positioning_main. html Tehrani, N. (2002, September 1). On differentiation and positioning. Customer Interaction Solutions, 21. The Product Life Cycle. (2010). Retrieved from: http://marketingteacher. com/lesson-store/lesson-plc. html