Perceptual maps help to improve a company’s current product on the market by mapping consumer expectation of the product. The motorcycle company Thorr Motors perceptual maps were used to create a marketing plan to aid in maintaining a high brand image of their motorcycles. The Marketing Dictionary defines perceptual maps as a “process by which consumers’ perceptions of an existing product are charted” (n.d., para. 1). In this paper the three phases of the simulation, the situation, recommended solution, and results will be discussed. In addition there will be a discussion on relationship between differentiation and positioning of products or services and the impact of the product life cycle on marketing.
Phase I (2×01)Sales of the Cruiser Thorr are decreasing. This is so because the Cruiser Thorr’s target consumers are aging and their tastes have begun to outgrow the lifestyle that Cruiser Thorr symbolizes. In addition to this issue, younger consumers are more interested in lower priced motorcycles due to their lower personal disposable incomes and they do not indentify with Cruiser Thorr’s lifestyle image. This scenario wanted to determine the Cruiser Thor’s position in the market by choosing four relevant parameters that will reflect the highest potential.
For phase I the parameters that were chosen were lifestyle image, services offered, price, and quality engineering. Lifestyle image was chosen since the image for the Cruiser Thorr was being outgrown by the aging target audience and was not identifiable with younger consumers. Since the Cruiser Thorr’s lifestyle image is set very high any vital information gathered will be highly useful to maintain that level of image so that it satisfies both an older and younger audience. Services offered was another parameter chosen because compared to their competitors the services offered by the Cruiser Thorr are limited. The more frills a product comes with, the more it may heighten the desire for it.
The third parameter that was chosen was price. Price was chosen because for many consumers price is one of the most important factors in making a buying decision. Furthermore, it was stated earlier that younger consumers were more interested in lower priced motorcycles. Finding out how much is too much as well as how low can you go without diluting brand image will be important in determining the appropriate price tag to spark consumer interest. The last parameter chosen was quality engineering. This was chosen because of the fact that the Cruiser Thorr will not be able to maintain a high brand image without this feature (University of Phoenix, 2004).
The decision to use lifestyle image, services offered, price, and quality engineering were the appropriate parameters to use. The parameters that were chosen were fundamental to the perceptual map and gave the best perspective as opposed to the other options.
The position of the Cruiser Thorr is determined by the perceptual map and this position has not helped sales. This scenario calls for the marketing manager to create a marketing plan that will either reposition the Cruiser Thorr or launch a new motorcycle. Upon researching threats and weaknesses of Thorr Motorcycles, the decision was made to launch a new motorcycle, the RRoth, which will grab the attention of younger consumers.
With the new launch the marketing mix needed to be determined. The price for the new RRoth was set between $13,000 and $15,000. This price range was chosen because earlier surveys conducted showed that the younger consumers were more interested in lower priced motorcycles. The types of promotions chosen were sponsored events at Daytona, offering insurance and protection plans, free test rides, publicize through Hollywood films, and providing giveaway merchandise. These were all chosen because of the high amount of appeal these types of promotional methods would have on younger consumers.
The places chosen to promote the RRoth were the internet (Manufacturer’s Web site), Dealers, and Distributors. These options were chosen because of the accessibility to younger consumers, especially the internet. The services chosen were training to dealers, customization options, and financial services. Training to dealers was chosen so that the dealers can provide detailed and accurate information about the products sold. Customization options were chosen because this would add to the cool and youthful image of the RRoth. Financial services were chosen because the younger consumers indicated an interest in financing options.
Choosing to launch a new motorcycle turned out to be a good decision. The marketing mix options chosen were the most optimal for the formulation of a differentiation strategy.
It has been a year since the marketing plan was implemented and it is now time to determine if the plans have or have not been a success. Consumer perceptions of the Cruiser Thorr and the RRoth have been surveyed and a perceptual map will show whether or not the marketing activities have been a success. The marketing manager has to interpret market research to plot brand attributes of Cruiser Thorr. In addition, attributes relevant to the RRoth need to be chosen and interpreted to create RRoth’s perceptual map.
The Cruiser Thorr was rated in lifestyle image at 9 because initially this was rated very high. A nine would be most appropriate. For price a rate of 4 was chosen because consumers saw this particular motorcycle as pricey compared to other brands. A rating of 4 or 5 would be appropriate. Services offered are rated at a 7 because services for the Cruiser Thorr is limited compared to competitors but were revamped because of consumer response. A rating of 7 is most appropriate.
Quality engineering was rated at 8 because consumers think that Cruiser Thorr’s engine is the best. A rating of 8 is very appropriate. The RRoth was rated at a 7 for lifestyle image because like other Thorr motorcycles consumers are already considering it a status symbol. The rating chosen was the appropriate choice. Price was rated at 8 because the RRoth is cheaper than the Cruiser Thorr in order to target a younger consumer. An 8 rating is appropriate. Cool was chosen for the RRoth because of the younger audience and a rating of 8 was chosen. A rating of 8 was most appropriate.
Relationship between differentiation and positioning of products or servicesDifferentiation of product is according to Investopedia “a marketing process that showcases the differences between products” (Investopedia, .n.d., para. 1). Positioning of products is “the consumer perception of a product or service as compared to its competition” (Lake, n.d., para. 1). The relationship is that in order for a company to be a leader in that particular industry not only do they have to differentiate themselves from the competition, but they must also secure a position in the market that when consumers needs need to be met, that company will be number one on the list in consumer’s minds.
The repositioning of the product in the simulation is what I had expected. It was expected because one of the main issues was the changing perceptions of the consumers and there was nothing wrong with the physical product. Tastes were changing but the product was still of high quality. Like many companies they offered a fresh new product and for Thorr Motorcycles this attracted younger consumers. But they did not totally scrap efforts on the Cruiser Thorr and worked on revamping the image.
Product Life Cycle
The impact the product life cycle has on marketing is that business need to plan their products around the product life cycle. Knowing where the product is on the cycle, marketing strategies can be adjusted to maintain profitability. “A particular firm’s marketing mix usually must change during the product life cycle” (Perreault et al, 2004, pg. 270). In the simulation the Cruiser Thorr was in the decline stage of the life cycle as their sales were declining rapidly. The declining sales were because the older audience’s tastes were outgrowing the Cruiser Thorr and younger consumers were put off by the high price. Because Cruiser Thorr was in decline stage, a new motorcycle, the RRoth was introduced to the life cycle and aimed at a different target group to revamp sales and consumer perception.
ConclusionThe perceptual map helped to determine consumer expectations for Thorr Motorcycles. Precise parameters were determined to hone in on exactly what they wanted and expected from the company. This ultimately is what enabled Thorr Motorcycles to reposition consumer perceptions back to where Thorr motors wanted. In this paper the three phases of the simulation, the situation, recommended solution, and results were discussed. In addition there was a discussion on relationship between differentiation and positioning of products or services and the impact of the product life cycle on marketing.
Differentiation. (n.d.). Definition. Retrieved on February 16, 2008 from,http://www.investopedia.com/terms/p/product_differentiation.aspLake, L. (n.d.). Product Positioning Definition. Retrieved on February 16, 2008 from,http://marketing.about.com/od/marketingglossary/g/prodpostdef.htmPerceptual mapping. (n.d.). Dictionary of Marketing Terms. Retrieved February 16,2008, from Answers.com Web site:http://www.answers.com/topic/perceptual-mappingPerreault, W.D., & McCarthy, E.J. (2004). Basic Marketing: A Global-ManagerialApproach. McGraw-Hill CompaniesUniversity of Phoenix. (2006). General Marketing. Retrieved February 16, 2008, fromUniversity of Phoenix, Resource, Simulation, MKT421-Marketing Web site:https://mycampus.phoenix.edu/secure/resource/vendors/tata/UBAMsims/general_marketing/general_marketing_perceptual_maps_simulation.html