The Product

The description of a product includes:

  • Appearance;

  • Color;

  • Design;

  • Quality;

  • Technical specifications, for example, materials, size;

  • Use and time of use.

The description is not limited to the physical qualities of a product, sometimes referred to as its tangible features. The customers are buying not only the good or service, but also the associated services and the status the product is thought to confer upon them. The description can be extended to include:

  • After-sales service;

  • Additional guarantees;

  • Availability of spare parts;

  • Clarity of instruction manuals;

  • Credit facilities;

  • Image;

  • Status.

The product can also be defined as industrial goods and consumer goods in terms of its final use.

  1. Consumer goods are sold to the consumers to satisfy their immediate and personal needs and wants.

  2. Industrial goods are those sold to other businesses for use in their production processes or for resale to the final consumer. Industrial products can be divided into:

      • Machinery and the equipment that goes with it.

      • Raw materials and components – metals, car batteries.

      • Services to business, eg. Banking, legal, warehousing.

      • Supplies such as paper, pens, cleaning materials.

Three Levels of Benefits

This analytical model looks at a product purely in terms of the benefits it offers. It classifies these on three main levels.

  • First level is the core benefit which is the reason for the product’s existence. This describes the product at its most basic level. Core benefits are usually taken as routine by buyers. We expect an electric kettle to boil water.

  • Second level is the real product which is a physical item or service(the features such as the kettle’s shape, capacity etc.), plus additional benefits(such as the kettle’s ability to switch off when it boils)

  • Third level is the enhanced product, which has had a series of additional benefits added to the first two levels to improve its competitive nature.(these might include, in the case of the kettle, an extended guarantee, or a pair of free mugs with each purchase.)

So, for a Parker fountain pen, the product analysis would be:

  • Core Benefit Writing implement for communication
  • Real Product A physical fountain pen
  • Enhanced Product Brand identity, guarantee period, repair and maintenance service.

The product Strategy calls for making coordinated decisions on new product development, product lines, brands, and packaging and labelling.