Announcing Composite Product Mapping (CPM)

Perceptual Mapping has been a useful method for condensing what can often become a very large amount of ratings information (such as a matrix of brand ratings on different attributes) into a visual picture:

The farther a brand is positioned in the direction of an attribute vector, the more highly associated that brand is with that quality. Brands that are located near one another are perceived as relatively similar by the market.

The first version of APM was released in 1986 and has never received a major update. We are pleased to announce the successor to the APM system, called CPM (Composite Product Mapping). APM's maps were based solely on respondents' perceptions (ratings) of brands (objects) on different attributes. While these maps were very good at describing perceptual differences in the market, they were often not very good at representing differences in preference.

Many researchers and academics have been interested in market maps that are better tied to preferences but that still have the interpretability of discriminant- or factor-based perceptual maps. At our most recent Sawtooth Software Conference, Rich Johnson demonstrated "composite maps" that use both product perceptions and preferences. These maps often look a good deal like APM's discriminant maps, but they are more successful in representing differences in preference. Rich suggested that composite maps offer insurance against poor selection of attributes. If there are attributes that are useful for discriminating among brands in terms of perceptions but that have no explanatory power with respect to preferences, CPM's composite maps will largely ignore those attributes.

One of the greatest shortcomings of the APM system has been the unavailability of a Windows-based mapping program. CPM provides such a module. You can control the fonts, styles, sizes and colors in the map. You can "drag and drop" labels to reposition those that might overlap, add titles and annotations, or selectively suppress attribute vectors or products.

CPM can create three types of maps:

  • Discriminant-based perceptual maps (identical to APM's maps)
  • Composite vector maps
  • Composite ideal-point maps

CPM offers:

  • DOS-based computational programs for estimating map coordinates
  • Windows-based plotting module for creating presentation-quality maps
  • Ci3 template for collecting CPM data within a Ci3 interview
  • Ability to read APM data files (percep.dat) or flat ASCII files containing individual-level perceptual data
  • Preference information can be provided by conjoint part worths and read directly from conjoint data files (ACA, CVA, ICE or CBC/HB)
  • Ability to weight respondents

The CPM System by itself cannot generate computerized surveys like APM could. APM was introduced before the development of the Ci3 System. Ci3 now provides a more satisfactory way of constructing and administering computer-assisted interviews. CPM provides a template for Ci3 interviews, and if you use that template, it can directly read the appropriate information from the Ci3 (.dat) file.

In the years since APM's introduction, it has become apparent that conjoint analysis provides a more powerful method for "what-if" simulation than mapping-based simulators. Rather than a simulator that tries to predict the result of changing a product on specific attributes (which is better left to conjoint analysis) CPM provides a method for estimating the density of demand at each point in the product space.

CPM's Plot module generates Density of Demand plots like the following:

Darker areas of the density map represent relatively higher average preference.

CPM comes in different sizes, based on the number of attributes and products in the map. The prices are as follows:

  • $1,500 for 10 products, 15 attributes
  • $3,000 for 30 products, 50 attributes
  • $4,000 for 90 products, 90 attributes

APM users receive a $500 discount. To learn more about the CPM System, please download the CPM Technical Paper from our Technical Papers library on our home page: