Perceptual Mapping

Perceptual mapping is an exceptional resource that marketing managers use to better understand the correlation between competitors, changing marketplace conditions, the principles that influence consumers purchasing behaviors, and can help an organization maintain an advantage over its competitors. This distinctive style of market analysis illustrates a product or service’s market position in relation to subject, target market, price, design, competition, and lifestyle. This dissertation will illustrate the situation for each phase of the simulation. Next it intends to describe the recommended solutions and reasons for those recommendations. Last, this paper will discuss the various marketing components used in the simulation and answer the following questions: 1.) what is the connection between the delineation and positioning of products and services and is the positioning of a product or service different from what I expected? And 2.) How does the product life cycle affect the marketing and how did it affect the proposed product in the simulation?

Thorr Motorcycle Inc.
Thorr Motorcycle Inc. is a high image manufacturer of a variety of motorcycles. The business in known to produce over 200,000 each year and is worth five billion dollars. Thorr also holds licenses and sells numerous other consumers products like t-shirts, toys, and motorcycle shoes (Phoenix, 2010). Although the company handles a large volume of sales, it also provides services like software packages for dealers and motorcycle rentals and rider training to consumers. With its high level of performance and its high brand image, Thorr controls 40% of the Oligopoly market that includes the 651 + cc cruiser segmentation.

According to the simulation, the sales of the Cruiser Thorr, one of Thorr Motorcycle Inc.’s existing products is declining even though the motorcycle industry is constantly expanding. One reason for this situation is the initial target audience age group selected for the Cruiser Thorr ranged from 35 to 50 (Phoenix, 2010). That age group is growing older and no longer care about the lifestyle image that owning a Cruiser Thorr represents, but other attributes that suit their needs and wants.
Phase I
My first assignment as the new marketing manager is to establish a well-developed and properly implemented positioning approach for the Cruiser Thorr. The first step to formulating a strong positioning strategy is to identify the parameters and attributes that play a significant role in swaying my customers’ purchasing behaviors and decisions. The same constraints are essential for fashioning the perceptual map that will help in creating a marketing approach and positioning strategy.
The four essential parameters I have selected for the Cruiser Thorr are lifestyle image, quality engineering, price, and service offerings. Each of these attributes will a play a role in how consumers compare the Cruiser Thorr to its competition and other similar products on the market.
The lifestyle image includes other characteristics like engine capacity, product styling, uniqueness, and brand image. Together these attributes create the lifestyle image that represents one significant parameter that often sways customers’ purchasing decisions rather more than functional attributes. Yet another parameter the current target market may be looking for is an affordable price that can be worked into a fixed income or budget, but without having to sacrifice the Cruiser Thorr embodies. However, Thorr must also consider the younger consumers in the 21 to 35 age group olds. This age group is less interested in the lifestyle image of the Cruiser Thorr but is often more interested in a less expensive motorcycle because of the lack of disposable income (Phoenix, 2010).
The last two parameters that I have selected are quality engineering and service offerings. Consumers often relate these two attributes as a pair. If the engineering quality is poor than consumers presume that they will need a great deal of maintenance. So they believe the company should provide those services for the product that was purchased from them. Often consumers will go to a competitor for the needed service because the company the product was originally purchased from does not provide it.
Phase II
In the second phase of the simulation, I had to decide which positioning strategy will have a bigger and better affect on Thorr Motorcycle Inc. After examining the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT), I have selected to launch the new motorcycle RRoth rather than reposition the existing Cruiser Thorr. I choose to introduce a product because I believe that with the development department’s new fuel-efficient engine incorporated with a more modern and younger look Thorr Inc. can attract the younger consumers. A cool and uniquely designed motorcycle accompanied by an inexpensive price is exactly what the younger consumers are considering when making their purchasing decisions. However, Thorr is still continuing to accommodate the older target audience’s expectations by providing the superior brand image that is so important to them.
The above decision meant that I would have to develop an innovative marketing mix for the new RRoth. My recommendations and reasons for making each of those recommendations for that framework are as follows:
Price: I believe the $13,000 to $15,000 price range is perfect for the new motorcycle. By placing the new RRoth in a lower price category we will be able to attract a larger volume of consumers who make up the consumer age group of 21 to 35. A lower price is exactly what this age group is looking for because this particular group does not have large amount of disposable cash.
Promotion: Do the nature of the product category and story line, the best way to promote the new RRoth motorcycle is to introduce it and advertise it through Hollywood movies, especially the science fiction and action movies. These types of films seem best suited to follow along with the story line of the new motorcycle.
Place: In today’s high technology world one of the best places to promote the new RRoth motorcycle is on the Internet. People are constantly relying on the Internet for some reason or another. It also possesses unbelievable penetration to reach the selected target audiences. So I believe the inexpensive pricing and unique new design will attract potential buyers to the Thorr Motorcycle Inc.’s manufacturer website to look at the new motorcycle.
Phase III
Phase III required me to interpret the results of the market research to create perceptual maps for both the Cruiser Thorr and the RRoth. My findings for each are as follows:
Parameters for the Cruiser Thorr
• Lifestyle image- seven
• Price- eight
• Quality Engineering- eight
• Service offerings- nine
I had interpreted the market research correctly for most of the parameter I had chosen, but needed to pay closer attention to the values that I assigned to lifestyle and price. The simulation recommended that I should have assigned a value of nine or higher because the customers who own Cruiser Thorr think so highly of it.
Perceptual Map for the RRoth
Once again I needed to examine the market research to formulate a perceptual map for the new RRoth motorcycle. The parameters for the RRoth perceptual map are as follows:
• Lifestyle image- seven
• Price- eight
• Quality engineering- nine
• Service offerings- eight
I had analyzed the marketing research correctly. But could have included cool into the parameters I had selected. However, the rating of seven that I had assigned for the lifestyle image was appropriate for the brand and consumers also consider it to be a status symbol. The simulation also showed that I had appropriately quality engineering. According to the research, consumers are using this parameter to influence their purchasing decisions very heavily.
In regard to the relationship between differentiation and positioning of these products are almost similar. The differences between them are the Cruiser Thorr’s target audience once considered it to be a status symbol for a high price. The target audience for the RRoth sees it as a status symbol but with a cool unique look for less cost. But each still considers the same parameters to make their purchasing decisions.
Going into this simulation I had no prior knowledge about motorcycles. If I understood more about the marketing of motorcycles or the retail of them, than I believe I would have had some opinion to the products positioning. But because of that, I had no expectations of the simulation in regard to how products were positioned.
This simulation demonstrates that the Cruiser Thorr has progressed through the initial stages of the product life cycle that allow it to prosper and is now moving through the maturity stage. The cycle has helped it to grow and expand into the target market but Thorr Motorcycle Inc. is now struggling to sustain their sales levels. Whereas, the RRoth is just moving into the first stage of the product life cycle. Because each of these products is in a different phase of the product life cycle, the company will have to adjust its marketing strategies to accommodate that stage of the lifecycle. This could mean having to reinvent a product, reposition it, introduce a new product or even remove it from the market when it can no longer thrive on the market.

Phoenix, U. o. (2010). General Marketing:. Retrieved March 2010, from Using Perceptual Maps in Marketing.