Perceptual maps are often used in marketing to visually study relations between two or more attributes. However, in many perceptual maps published in the recent literature it remains unclear what is being shown and how the relations between the points in the map can be interpreted or even what a point represents. The term perceptual map refers to plots obtained by a series of different techniques, such as principal component analysis, (multiple) correspondence analysis, and multidimensional scaling, each needing specific requirements for producing the map and interpreting it. Some of the major flaws of published perceptual maps are omission of reference to the techniques that produced the map, non-unit shape parameters for the map, and unclear labelling of the points. The aim of this paper is to provide clear guidelines for producing these maps so that they are indeed useful and simple aids for the reader. To facilitate this, we suggest a small set of simple icons that indicate the rules for correctly interpreting the map. We present several examples, point out flaws and show how to produce better maps.

Additional Metadata
Keywords biplot, correspondence analysis, multidimensional scaling, multiple correspondence analysis, perceptual map, principal component analysis
JEL Statistical Decision Theory; Operations Research (jel C44), Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting (jel M), Marketing (jel M31)
Publisher Erasmus Research Institute of Management
Persistent URL
Series ERIM Report Series Research in Management
Journal ERIM report series research in management Erasmus Research Institute of Management
Gower, J.C, Groenen, P.J.F, van de Velden, M, & Vines, K. (2010). Perceptual maps: the good, the bad and the ugly (No. ERS-2010-011-MKT). ERIM report series research in management Erasmus Research Institute of Management. Erasmus Research Institute of Management. Retrieved from