Activity ideas for market research online communities: perceptual mapping

Last month we posted ideas about ways to go beyond surface level findings in market research online communities (MROCs) but we wanted to start a series of regular features about different ideas and tips for activities to run in your MROC. This post is on perceptual mapping.

Traditionally, perceptual mapping is a common technique used in qualitative settings to get people to better articulate perceptions about a brand based on select attributes. This same technique can be employed in the online community setting using a simple image. Typically, there are two common ways to use perceptual mapping. Take a look at the two examples below.

The idea is fairly simple. The one-dimensional map requires the member to think about a single attribute, while the two-dimensional map requires the member to think about a combination of two attributes.

Create a visual based on your client brand/product, competitive set and related attributes. Then have members place each of the brands/products listed on the continuum and share "why" they placed it in the respective spot.

If you are not a design nut, no worries... visuals can easily be created in PPT (saved as a .jpeg) and they don't have to be advanced. You want to keep them fairly simple. The key is to really understand the rationale for placement on the map.

There are a lot of varieties of this type of mapping activity. We'll share some more ideas in the days/weeks to come! I'd love to hear about any variations that you have used in traditional or online sessions in the past.

by Ben Werzinger , Senior Qualitative Consultant & Managing Partner - PluggedIn

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