Multidimensional scaling and perceptual mapping

It is easier to understand the relationships between facts, events or objects if we can visualise these relationships spatially. There are a number of techniques that go under the heading of multidimensional scaling and perceptual mapping techniques which enable us to do exactly that. They allow us to visualise how users perceive products and services in relationship to one another. There are a variety of perceptual-mapping programs and techniques designed to work with the different kinds of data that have been collected.

EXAMPLE

This example uses Multiscale II.7 In this case, brands of watch were taken in pairs and respondents were asked to judge how dissimilar the brands were vis-à-vis each other.

45.9

40.0

-

Key:

34.1

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G E

A = Rolex

28.2

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B = Rotary

22.4

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M

C = Accurist

16.5

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P

D - Roamer

10.6

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J K

E = Swatch

4.7

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A

F

F =Jaeger

-1.2

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L

G = Fossil

-7.1

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I N

H = Avia

-12.9

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B H

I = Seiko

-18.8

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CO „

J = Casio

-24.7

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D

K = Bulova

-30.6

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L = Ebel

-36.5

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M =Tag

-42.4

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N = Citizen

-48.2

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0 = Longines

-54.1

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P = Breitling

-60.0

I

I

60.0

-40.0 -20.0 0

20.0 40.0 60.0

80.0

Configuration plot for dimension 2 (vertical axis) against dimension 1

FIGURE 10.9

Configuration plot for dimension 2 (vertical axis) against dimension 1

Judgement-similarity measures between products or brands can be used to create geometric representations in multidimensional spaces called perceptual maps. The brands or products are represented by points in the space, while the dimensions represent the attributes used by the customers in making the similarity judgements. Brands located close to each other are judged to be similar on the attributes and thus form a defined market. In Figure 10.9, information about the competitive sets is obtained by the examination of clusters of points. Products A, F and L (Rolex, Jaeger and Ebel) cluster together, but are separate, for example, from M and P (Tag and Breitling), which form another cluster.

Comparing products at the extreme points of both dimensions gives some idea of the name to give to each of the two axes. On the horizontal axis Jaeger at one extreme contrasts with Fossil at the other - perhaps reflecting the status symbol, high-price dimension - while on the vertical axis, Accurist and Roamer contrast with Swatch and Fossil, reflecting the conservatism, or lack of it, of the brands.

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