What are Products – Really?
I think more SM Marketers need to better understand what “Products” are and how to manage them. What do you think?
“A product is “… Anything that can be offered to a market for attention, acquisition, use or consumption.” Hence, “… It includes physical objects, services, personalities, places, organisations, and ideas.” (Kotler)
“A product is everything, both favourable and unfavourable, that the purchaser receives in an exchange. It is a complexity of tangible and intangible attributes, including functional, social, and psychological utilities or benefits. A product can be an idea, a service, a good, or any combination of these three. This definition also covers supporting services that go with goods, such as installation, guarantees, product information, and promises of repair or maintenance.” (Marketing Association of ANZ Student Notes)
When buyers purchase a product, they are buying the benefits and satisfaction (both services provided) they think the product would provide. They are not primarily buying the tangibles. The ‘tangible product’ is never the primary benefit.
All products are perceived in a subjective manner by customers. When the service elements of products are described by customers, expressions such as experience, trust, feeling, and security are used. These are the human, highly abstract ways of formulating what a product is.
The reason for this, of course, lies in the highly intangible nature of products. The essential factor that is that the biggest proportion of any product is its service (or value added ) component. All products, include tangible elements as well. The essence of a product, is the intangibility of the phenomenon itself.
A product is not simply a thing (a tangible good) or an intangible activity provided for exchange, or just a combination of both (goods and services) but a series of activities and/or processes added to commodities, that create value for the customer by providing solutions and satisfactions. (Monger 1997)
A key position among commercial marketing executives is that of the product manager who is responsible for overseeing one or more items in the firm’s product assortment, its “product mix’ ” The product is defined as something having the ability to satisfy human needs or wants; it is a tangible thing marketed by a business firm or a social cause or a program offered by a public or non-profit organisation. Overseeing includes all planning and control functions associated with the marketing of that product. The product manager’s role is to ensure that a product being offered meets several requirements:
1. The criteria by which consumers will choose.
2. The marketer’s own standards.
3. A niche within the organisation’s existing “product portfolio” and its supply capabilities.
4. Legal, moral, ethical, and public opinion codes and mores.
The manager is also responsible for segmenting the market and for creating the marketing plan. It is an awesome responsibility.
Product management consists of numerous tasks: overseeing market segmentation; making decisions on brands and package designs, product positioning, product safety, the product mix, product form, and product differentiation; studying the product life cycle; and developing new products.