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When an organisation introduces a product into a market they must ask themselves a number of questions.

Who is the product aimed at?
What benefit will they expect?
How do they plan to position the product within the market?
What differential advantage will the product offer over their competitors?

We must remember that Marketing is fundamentally about providing the correct bundle of benefits to the end user, hence the saying ‘
Marketing is not about providing products or services it is essentially about providing changing benefits to the changing needs and demands of the customer’ (P.Tailor 7/00)

Philip Kotler in Principles of Marketing devised a very interesting concept of benefit building with a product

For a more detailed analysis please refer to Principles of Marketing by P.Kotler.

 

Kotler suggested that a product should be viewed in three levels.

Level 1: Core Product. What is the core benefit your product offers?. Customers who purchase a camera are buying more then just a camera they are purchasing memories.

Level 2 Actual Product: All cameras capture memories. The aim is to ensure that your potential customers purchase your one. The strategy at this level involves organisations branding, adding features
and benefits to ensure that their product offers a differential advantage from their competitors.

Level 3: Augmented product: What additional non-tangible benefits can you offer? Competition at this level is based around after sales service, warranties, delivery and so on. John Lewis a retail departmental store offers free five year guarantee on purchases of their Television sets, this gives their `customers the additional benefit of peace of mind over the five years should their purchase develop a fault.

augmented product



Product Decisions

When placing a product within a market many factors and decisions have to be taken into consideration. These include:

Product design: Will the design be the selling point for the organisation as we have seen with the iPad,  the VW Beetle or the Dyson Ball vacuum cleaner

Product quality:Quality has to consistent with other elements of the marketing mix. A premium based pricing strategy has to reflect the quality a product offers

Product features: What features will you add that may increase the benefit offered to your target market? Will the organisation use a discriminatory pricing policy for offering these additional benefits?

Product branding: One of the most important decisions a marketing manager can make is about branding. The value of brands in today’s environment is phenomenal. Brands have the power of instant sales, they convey a message of confidence, quality and reliability to their target market.