Typical perceptual mapping encourages the development team to select the two dimensions which best describe alternative products. This enables competitive products to be compared and produces a strong visual image of differences in market needs. However, the main limitation of this process is the difficulty in choosing the right two dimensions. It may be that a number of factors are viewed as important. The comparative product scaling approach encourages the rating of competitive performance for all factors viewed as important.
Brainstorm key dimensions
Brainstorm the key dimensions of competitive success. It can be useful to consider similar dimensions to the 'bases of segmentation' and to make sure that all product aspects are considered, including core benefits, the tangible attributes, the intangible aspects and the augmented product elements. Choose no more than 10 dimensions if possible.
Produce a snappy statement to define the extremes of performance for each dimension.
Identify 3-5 competitive products
Identify the leading products in the market. Choose between 3 and 5 products.
Rank each product and plot performance
Rank the performance of each product for all of the chosen dimensions. This can be done by the design team, but it is preferable to go out and ask customers for their view. If sufficient customers are asked, then the average response will provide a more reliable view of performance than one generated internally. Finally, Plot the performance of each product relative to each dimension.
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