Perceptual Maps in Marketing
Please re-write the scenario below in your own words.
In the Thorr Cruiser simulation, there is a need for the creation of a market plan. This need arises because the sales of Thorr Cruiser are falling. The plan is to reposition Thorr Cruiser instead of launching a new motorcycle. The simulation encourages the interpretation of the market research findings on a perceptual map. Perceptual mapping is a method of plotting the perceptions of customers/ potential customers about the brand/product. This technique has been in used in Thorr Cruiser to ascertain the reasons for declining sales and to formulate a strategy for improvement in the positioning of Thorr Cruiser.
This improvement in the positioning of Thorr Cruiser is to be brought about by changing the marketing mix. The marketing mix refers to the combination of product, place, promotion, and pricing strategies. In case of Thorr Cruiser the marketing mix is to be used to reposition Thorr Cruiser.
While running the simulation the marketing mix used by me was lifestyle price, service offering, quality engineering and offering financial options. Lifestyle price is important to position Thorr Cruiser as a premium product. Pricing has an important affect on the perceptions of customers and so lifestyle pricing has been used. In addition, lifestyle pricing will support quality engineering so that the Thorr Cruiser that rolls out will not only be positioned as the best motorcycle but will also have quality better than that of any other motorcycle. Service offering is an important attraction. The level of quality will go a long way in improving the positioning of Thorr Cruiser and increase its sales volume. Another important factor selected is that of quality engineering. Quality engineering on one level means that Thorr Cruiser will maintain its high quality of motorcycles. This will provide credibility to the company. On the other hand quality engineering means that Thorr Cruiser will undertake operational, engineering and managerial activities that the company will use to make sure that the quality characteristic of Thorr Cruiser improve. The objective of quality engineering is to develop Thorr Cruiser in such a manner that its performance and quality will exceed customer expectations. Quality engineering will ensure that Thorr Cruiser delivers a unique riding experience to anyone. Thorr Cruiser will provide comfort on every ride. Quality engineering will ensure that Thorr Cruiser motorbikes have style, durability and look. Quality engineering will also add features to Thorr Cruiser that will influence customers to purchase Thorr Cruiser for what it represents. Thorr Cruiser represents freedom, masculinity and mobility.
Thorr Cruiser also gives financial options to the customer of its motorcycles. This means that customers can avail themselves of finance to purchase bikes. In other words the entire package of lifestyle pricing, excellent service offering and quality engineering will help develop a new and more attractive perception of Thorr Cruiser in the minds of the consumers and will reposition Thorr Cruiser.
The decisions that were taken were to maintain the price. In face of falling sales, one of the most attractive options is to reduce price. I have however; opted to maintain the price because price is a powerful factor that influences the perceptions of the customers. Reducing prices will create an impression that a new watered down version of Thorr Cruiser has been introduced. This is against the marketing plan of Thorr Cruiser. This is why I have maintained the price. In addition, since the objective is to position Thorr Cruiser as a lifestyle motorcycle, it will be publicized through Hollywood Film. The movies will be selected in such a way that the positioning of Thorr Cruiser will be enhanced. The movies will position Thorr Cruiser as masculine, mobile and a symbol of freedom. To improve the ease of ordering and purchase, I selected publicity through the manufacturer's website. Being able to purchase the motorcycle through the internet is in accordance with the lifestyle positioning of Thorr Cruiser. Financial service has been selected by me because there is a feeling that Thorr Cruiser is facing declining sales because of the overall economic weakness. To counter this problem, financial services will allow the purchaser of Thorr Cruiser to make payments according to his convenience.
The first major phase is the use of optimal perceptual map to identify Thorr Cruiser parameters. The situation is that the Thorr Cruiser sales are falling, it is being perceived as out dated, its name and reputation is not popular among the youth and it is being perceived as the bike of yesteryears.
The recommended solution is to maintain the price, publicize through latest Hollywood films, internet, and financial services and offer customization options. The reasons are that Hollywood film will transform the perception of Thorr Cruiser from a dated bike to the latest and most stylish bike. Internet advertising will support such a perception, financial services will help increase sales and customization options will help the potential customers select from a wide choice.
The second major phase was to decide whether to reposition Thorr Cruiser or to launch a new motorcycle based on SWOTT analysis. The situation was that Thorr Cruiser was making losses, its customer base had eroded and the level of differentiation was low. My recommendation was to reposition Thorr Cruiser. The reason was that Thorr Cruiser even now enjoyed an excellent reputation in the market, it was well recognized and repositioning would be a far lower cost option than going in for a new launch. In addition, if Thorr Cruiser went in for a new launch, it might have to go in for a low cost/low priced model that would neither be profitable nor appeal to the target segment of Thorr Cruiser. On the other hand repositioning Thorr Cruiser would protect the brand equity of Thorr Cruiser and enable the company to earn profits.
The third major phase was to develop a new perceptual parameter based on the results of sales and customer surveys. The situation was that the older perceptual parameters were not working, because of which Thorr Cruiser faced falling sales. My recommendation was to combine the results of freedom and masculinity and give it a new meaning through Hollywood publicity.
To sum, there is an intrinsic relationship between differentiation and position of products and services. The differentiation is achieved in some aspect of product or service and this differentiation leads to improved customer perception of that differentiation. The positioning of the product in that area improves. From another perspective your customers perceive the differentiation and the positioning of the product/service on that dimension improves. Let us consider the example of Thorr Cruiser. If the company differentiates the bike by improving its style, the customers perceive the superior style and the positioning of Thorr Cruiser on the stylishness dimension improves. In general the repositioning of the product was on expected lines. I had opted for lifestyle pricing, customizing options, financial services and Hollywood Films. In other words, I had tried to differentiate the product and reposition the Thorr Cruiser as a more stylish and masculine product. I feel I was successful.
The stage of the product lifecycle has a strong impact on marketing. The stage affects the marketing mix decision directly. For instance if a product is in the growth stage product: new features are added, price: premium pricing is charged, Place: Large trade discounts are given to attract new distribution channels. Promotion: A high level of advertising is used to attract customer to brands.
In case of Thorr Cruiser, as the sales have started declining, so it may be construed that Thorr Cruiser is in the decline stage. Typically in a decline stage a product is harvested, discontinued or maintained in the hope that competitors will leave. The purpose of repositioning or launching a new product is to attempt to start a new cycle or get into the 'growth' stage again. This is the effect the simulation attempts to create.
The Thorr Cruiser simulation is an exercise in perceptual mapping and the creating of a marketing plan. The objective of the simulation is thwart the declining sales of Thorr Cruiser. This simulation challenges the user to use market research information to reposition Thorr Cruiser so that increase in sales revenues is achieved. The method used is that of perceptual mapping of the customers and potential customers. The perceptual mapping method is also used to unearth the reasons for dipping sales and to develop a strategy for changing the positioning of Thorr Cruiser.
The strategy to be used for repositioning Thorr Cruiser is to change the marketing mix. The marketing mix refers to variables that a marketing manager may change to achieve her marketing goals. These variables are product, place, price and promotion.
During the simulation there were certain strategies used by me. The first was that of quality engineering. In my opinion, it was important for achieving the objective of increasing the sales of Thorr Cruiser. The second strategy used by me was the level of quality. The level of quality Improvements will ensure that Thorr Cruiser is suitably positioned. Third, I used service offering as it has high potential for increasing sales. Fourth, I offered financial options to potential buyers. It is expected that financial options will make Thorr Cruiser within the reach of a large number of customers and help increase the sales of Thorr Cruiser. Finally, I used lifestyle pricing to position Thorr Cruiser as a premium bike. Each of the strategies used by me are interconnected and support the positioning of Thorr Cruiser. Quality engineering and high level of service support the premium perception created by the lifestyle price. Similarly, quality engineering will affect the operations, engineering and managerial activities of Thorr Cruiser to improve the quality of Thorr Cruiser. This will support the premium positioning as the presentation, show, and ...
Perceputal Maps in Marketing is discussed very comprehensively in this explanation..