How to Make Perceptual Maps: Definition, Examples and More

The perception of your target audience is an important metric you can track with survey data collection. Visualizing consumer perceptions is a great way to measure customer value or gauge brand loyalty by building a perceptual maps.

This article will explain perceptual mapping, highlight its most valuable uses, and provide a step-by-step guide to creating your own, along with perceptual map examples

What is a Perceptual Map?

A perceptual map is a picture that helps businesses figure out how their customers see their services, products, and brands. As a result, it gathers information about the entire customer base. This lets you know how your most important customers think different brands and products fit into the bigger picture.

But some people get perceptual maps and positioning maps mixed up. When comparing brands or products, positioning maps look at how they are, while perceptual maps look at how people think about them.

Think about how a person in their twenties judging the safety of a car and an insurance agent with years of experience see things differently. Volvo has fewer accidents and more safety features, even though advertising may lead young adults to believe Ford is the safest car brand.

This case study helps show the difference between a perceptual and positional map. Perceptual maps only measure how the customer sees things, which may need to be corrected.

Perceptual map analysis can help when making well-informed decisions about how people generally feel about different brands. By using these tools, businesses can compare specific features or benefits, and the scope of the comparison can change over time.

This information is essential for businesses because it lets them create effective perceptual map marketing plans based on what customers tell them during the buying process.

How To Make A Perceptual Map?

  • The first step in making a perceptual map is to choose the criteria that will be used to compare and highlight things. You’ll need them for your map’s variables on the X and Y axes. Most of the time, these things will be deciding factors.
  • Determinant attributes are the parts of a product or service most important to a consumer’s buying decision. Customers value them, but that doesn’t mean they are the most important feature.
  • In our car example, comfort, cost, top speed, the look of the inside, and safety ratings are all important.
  • After deciding on essential factors, it’s time to send questionnaires and get customer responses.
  • You can start making your map when you have enough information and have narrowed down your variables. A simple XY Matrix is often used to show how people see things. The x-axis shows one factor, and the y-axis shows another.
  • Depending on how the scale is set up, each quadrant shows different generalisations, usually low to high on each axis. It doesn’t matter where you put it in the quadrant as much as how you place it with the other factors. With this method, you can determine how well each part is doing and how it compares to the rest of the market.
  • The last step in making your perceptual map is to put your parts into a matrix and compare them.

Uses Of A Perceptual Map

Any business that wants to do well needs to know the market and the competition.  It is essential that you do this if you want to succeed. A perceptual map can be helpful for a business. There are many ways these maps can be beneficial, such as:

  • This makes it easier to understand the psychology and behaviour of consumers.
  • It gives you a quick look at how your company compares to the rest of the market.
  • You can use this information to learn more about new trends in the market.
  • Identify areas that need more attention.
  • Different marketing campaigns can help you figure out how customers feel about a brand or product.
  • It helps figure out which positions are most popular.
  • Changes can be made to repositioning with its help.

What You Can Do Using Perceptual Maps?

  • Examining the environment
  • Strategies for selling and putting yourself out there
  • Relating information about opinions
  • Damage assessment for past-their-prime items
  • Constantly monitor how the market is changing to spot new trends

Perceptual Map Example

To create your own perceptual map, follow the instructions down below. The following is a detailed strategy using the gingerbread industry as an example.

Step 1: Identify characteristics

It’s necessary to define the characteristics first. These features are significant to customers when deciding if they want to purchase. Customers will always care about these characteristics because they give them more leverage when evaluating competing products and services.

The most important key characteristics will vary from product to product. As an example, let’s examine gingerbread.

Flavour and healthiness are two appropriate characteristics. It is possible to evaluate taste qualitatively even though it is subject to subjectivity. You can tell how healthy a cookie, like a gingerbread, is by looking at how many calories and sugar there are per 100 grams.

Step 2: Prepare and disperse survey forms

An appropriate sample of the research population and target market must be surveyed to obtain a complete data set for making a map. Creating and maintaining such a survey is a breeze using the right web tools.

In the case of gingerbread, for example, it would be wise to talk to competitors in the breakfast goods business about how their products taste and how healthy they are.

Step 3: Determine rankings

The next step is to begin analysing and computing the response data. Pay special attention to differences in how respondents judge the nature of the competition. In a survey, open-ended and closed-ended questions are often used to get qualitative information.

Creating a numerical scale is crucial in this situation. One option is to use a rating scale, like the Likert type. In this way, we can analyse lengthy comments and quantify them.

Step 4: Finish the Perceptual Map

With the collected information, we can finally draw up the perceptual map and divide the market space among the companies.

Typically, the X-axis indicates the food’s nutritional content, and the Y-axis shows the customer’s opinion of the food’s taste. It is possible to map brands and goods on a perceptual map to gain a deeper understanding of their attributes.

You May Also Like: Understanding Your Customers Better With A Perceptual Map


  • A “Perceptual Map” is a diagram that shows how a consumer thinks about a particular brand or product (PM). You can also show how the events of one company might affect another. This is what is meant by the term “positioning map.”
  • The X-axis and the Y-axis are the two main parts of a Perceptual Map.
  • When put on these axes, consumers’ opinions can help a business because they show patterns that can be used to grow. What I mean is, who are my competitors? I want to know what makes my product better than others on the market. These essential questions need answers if you’re going to track how client habits and preferences change over time.
  • Even though Perceptual Maps (PMs) are easy to make, they have some challenges. Identifying the quality of a product or service is essential before you can judge its quality. These are very important because they help customers choose the best option.

Frequently Asked Questions About Perceptual Maps

Q. How are perceptual maps used in marketing?

Marketers may apply perceptual maps in a variety of settings. Customers often use this method to determine what items they like most and why, to predict how new products will be received, and to determine the best combination of features for a product. 

After compiling and analysing this information, marketers will have the facts they need to make educated choices about their products and strategies.

Q. Why is it helpful to create a perceptual map?

When it comes to determining how people feel about different things, using a perceptual map can be very helpful. In addition to learning about market reception, it can be used to discover factors that influence customers’ purchasing decisions.

Q. In marketing, what exactly is a “perceptual map?”

A perceptual map is an infographic that shows how the general public sees different things. It’s made by making a graph of customer reviews of a product. The product’s position on the graph is a relative measure compared to other market offerings.

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