Perceptual Map Simulation

The world is progressing in every aspect of life. There is intense development and urbanization taking place. Day after day, as population increases, demand for goods and services also increases; this creates a need for more companies and more employment. Almost every day we hear names of new companies who have recently joined the market competition. As more and more companies are emerging, there is naturally a greater supply of similar goods in the market; some of these goods are better than the other which increases the standard of competition (Duck, 1993). Competition is not only restricted to your local market; with increasing globalization, the entire international forum is becoming your playing field. Competition is becoming so intense by the minute that no company can afford to slack off for even a day; every company needs to be operating at its maximum level to make its place in the market. However, production is not the only important task, marketing the product in the right places, right time and to the right people is essential. Marketing strategy is the course of action to follow to market the product in the market; it determines how to use the company’s resources and to divert them in a direction that results in maximum consumer satisfaction, leading to an increase in sales. It is the strategic planning that decides upon the target market, market segmentation, positioning, and even the marketing mix and other key decisions (Solomon, 1999). Marketing is a phenomenon that is very well planned, strategized, and formulated. The success depends on the implementation of the ideas.

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The right approach to marketing is to first segment the market, find a target market, differentiate your product and then position it in the head of the consumers. A perceptual map is a visualization of the image of your brand that is formed in the head of the consumers; or rather how you want the image to be. Perceptual maps are also called positioning maps because it defines what image the consumers have and what category the consumers have placed your brand in.

In the first stage, as the marketing manager, I will need to evaluate the product itself, its features, benefits, attributes, offerings and any other associated factors. This will help me understand my product much better. Keeping in mind what my brand is offering, marketing managers need to find one target market segment. Usually, the entire customer base in the market is divided into different segment based on various areas such as age, gender, social class, demographics, psychosocial factors and even geographical regions, so on and so forth. Then based on the appropriateness of your brand, you chose one target market that you cater to, and thus, market your brand according to their tastes. In the Cruiser Thorr’s case, since the target market of males in their 30s and 40s with stable and high income levels is now decreasing because their age is increasing and they are losing interest in such things – this is causing a major decline in the demand and value of the brand. Mostly, people who ride motorbikes are young office going males who do not have a high income level and thus, spend optimally. Also, young boys who are in the teenage phase and want to ride motorbikes because of the sign of freedom that is portrayed by it can also be targeted. So the target market will be boys of age 20 – 35, from socioeconomic class of upper-middle class, middle-middle class and upper-lower class, who are energetic, cherish freedom and independence and are the strivers for excellence in life. However, only for people with a spark in their personalities and not ordinary people who live their life like ten million other people do; people who enjoy thrills and adventure in life.

Then you come to differentiation – this is the competitive edge or the factor that make your brand distinct from all other brands. That is, there are so many motorbikes in the world; why should a consumer buy your brand; what is the unique selling point of your brand that cannot be offered by any other brand. The edge here is the product style and design – the design itself is so fresh, young and energetic that somebody who is young at heart will automatically be attracted to it. It looks more like a heavy bike which is more subtle, less flashy and showy compared to a Harley-Davidson, but still maintains the looks of a bike with an attitude. Additionally, something that is good looking always has an edge because customers usually pay higher for the looks, and they feel that the higher price is justified.

Lastly, positioning is the place the brand takes in the heads of the consumers. The brand positioning will be: a product that is not for ordinary people – only for those energetic, daring and young strivers out there in the market. This position is the one that Cruiser Thorr wishes to achieve keeping in mind what they are offering, the product itself, the services, the style and the brand persona. Also, the strivers part is added to give the essence of those customers who are still at the stage of earning higher incomes and struggling to make their careers. This is different from Harley-Davidson which is a brand for care-free and independent people who just want to live life the wild way. Also different from Suzuki and Yamaha’s which are for every ordinary person traveling in a motorbike to reach different destinations. Thus, keeping in mind the competition, it is somewhere in the middle.

The differentiating factor is what is used to position a brand because that is the one cutting edge factor that the consumers will remember over the other brands; also, that is probably one of the best features for the consumer, thus the mindset should be formulated around it to give a good brand image. The relationship between differentiation and positioning is basically the link where your entire position of the brand is based or founded using the differentiating factor. The repositioning that took place was related to downscaling the product aura a bit; it was to make the brand something that is not for every common person but the aim was also to not make it extremely exclusive that only a very narrow and small group of people be able to use it. This is the kind of repositioning that has been suggested in the simulation and this is something that I believe works for both classes, lower and upper because this covers aspects of both with a boost of energy. Neither is it too unachievable, nor is it too routine and requiring zero effort to achieve.

Keeping in mind the differentiation, target market and positioning, the four parameters chosen will be: Product designing and style, lifestyle imaging, price and quality engineering. Reasons for this are: product designing and style matters to young people because that automatically attracts people who are daring and energetic because they want something different and new to experience; also because it is the differentiating factor of Cruiser Thorr. Lifestyle imaging because we are targeting a certain target market with only a certain lifestyle – fresh graduates or [people who are climbing up their career ladders, who have fresh minds and are striving with mediocre income levels. Price and quality engineering both deal with the fact that when you have a low income, you want to invest it into something that is not only worth its price, but also of good quality so that the money spent is spent well.

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Product lifecycle is the division of the stages a product undergoes throughout its life. These stages include introduction, growth, maturity and decline. At every stage, the conditions and circumstances in which the product is thriving changes and therefore, the way the product should be dealt with also changes; this means that a different strategy is applicable at different stages.

An introduction stage is one at which the product has just entered the market and the company tries to create a market and awareness for the product in the market. Second stage is of growth in which the company tries to expand its operations, seeks greater market share and develops its products. The third stage is the maturity stage where the product is trying to retain its market share, new competition emerges and the sales are at its peak and do not increase (Day,1981). The last stage is of decline, where the sales start to drop and the product loses its charm and market.

The product life-cycle of Cruise Thorr in the real sense is a little complicated. The fact that the target market was very narrow because of its brand exclusivity, the number of customers that could be possibly made was very small. Keeping that in mind, we can say that the product life cycle reached maturity because no other customers could really be recruited as part of brand followers because they did not fall in the target market – those in the target market were already customers. Thus, this impacts the decisions in the regards of repositioning – it was time to adjust the brand image a bit to cater to a broader market in order to gain more customers.

References

Day, G. (1981) The product life cycle: Analysis and applications issues, Journal of Marketing, vol 45, 1981.

Solomon, R.C. (1999), A better way to think about business, Oxford University Press.

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