Perceptual maps help managers understand how products are perceived with respect to their strengths, weaknesses, and similarities relative to one another. By way of a two-dimensional picture, perceptual maps can summarize a great deal of information about brands and attributes. This time-proven tool helps managers picture and develop effective strategies for product positioning.
Sawtooth Software first offered perceptual mapping in the 1980s with the APM (Adaptive Perceptual Mapping) System. APM used multiple discriminant analysis, and had the additional benefit that respondents could rate a subset of the brands (e.g. familiar brands) on a subset of the attributes (e.g. most important attributes). We released a new perceptual mapping product in the 1990s that in addition to the standard discriminant-based maps could produce “composite” maps that leveraged both perceptual and preference information. The preference information could directly come from either paired comparisons of brands/products or from conjoint part worths.
With preference information in place, the composite mapping technique creates a mapping space that discriminates among the products in terms of perceptions and preferences. Therefore, an attribute that discriminates strongly among brands in terms of perceptions but is not a driver of preference will have little effect on the map. This makes mapping more actionable, as the dimensions are better tied to preferences rather than just perceptions. Areas of the map representing greater demand can be shaded with darker colors (called a density of demand display), giving managers a better idea of desirable directions for repositioning.
An upgrade for CPM (Composite Product Mapping) will soon be available. This new system is a fully Windows-based program that offers more plotting options, much better graphics rendering (see the graphic on this page as an example) and better data handling capabilities than the previous version of CPM. The attribute vectors are much cleaner (sharper) than before, including the ability to place arrow-heads at the ends of the vectors. The density of demand contours have greater resolution, and there are more options for formatting the individual elements of the maps.
Data for CPM can come from just about any source, whether self-administered computer-based interviewing, CATI, or paper-and-pencil. CPM can read data from standard text-only, delimited formats.
CPM v2 is based on Microsoft’s .NET platform, which requires the .NET framework. This may already exist on your system. If it does not, you can download it for free from Microsoft’s site.
The software is undergoing beta testing, so it is being put through its paces by existing APM and CPM users. The response so far has been positive. If you have any questions regarding this new upgrade, please call us at 360/681-2300. If you have fundamental questions about CPM or the methodology, please download the CPM Technical Paper from our Technical Papers library at sawtoothsoftware.com.