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 customers expect?
How does the firm 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)
Building Product Benefits
Philip Kotler in his book "Principles of Marketing" devised a very interesting concept of benefit building with a product.
Kotler suggested that a product should be viewed on three levels.
Level 1: Core Product
What is the core benefit your product offers? For example customers who purchase a camera are buying more than just a camera, they are purchasing memories.
Level 2: Actual Product
All cameras capture memories, therefore your aim is to persuade them to capture memories with your camera. The strategy at this level is to add branding, features and benefits which offer a differential advantage over your competitors.
Level 3: Augmented Product
This level is about exploring if there are any additional non-tangible benefits you can offer. Competition at this level is based around after sales service, warranties, delivery and so on. For example John Lewis a retail department store offers a free five year guarantee with television purchases. A five year guarantee offers their customers peace of mind that their television will be repaired or replaced should a fault develop.
When placing a product within a market many factors and decisions have to be taken into consideration. These include:
Will the design be the selling point for the organisation as we have seen with the iPad, the new VW Beetle or the Dyson Ball vacuum cleaner.
Quality has to consistent with other elements of the marketing mix. A premium based pricing strategy has to reflect the quality a product offers
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?
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.
Above left: Apples iPad and centre Dysons Ball vacuum cleaner, both examples of good design
Internet branding is now becoming an essential part of the branding strategy game. Generic names like Bank.com and Business.com have been sold for millions of pounds. Online firms need to make sure that potential customers understand what their brand is about. As single and double word registration online run short we are seeing triple worded internet firms. Within the UK comparethemarket.com which is a insurance comparison site is backed by a wonderful campaign using Meerkats, who have their own spoof website which supports comparethemarket.com. Take a look, comparethemeerkat.com
More On Branding
Brands have to be managed well, as some brands can be cash cows for organisations. In many organisations they are represented by brand managers, who have hugh resources to ensure their success within the market.
A brand is a tool which is used by an organisation to differentiate itself from competitors. Ask yourself what is the value of a pair of Nike trainers without the brand or the logo? How does your perception change?
Increasingly brand managers are becoming annoyed by ‘copycat’ strategies being employed by supermarket food retail stores particular within the UK . Coca-Cola threatened legal action against UK retailer Sainsbury after introducing their Classic Cola, which displayed similar designs and fonts on their cans.