A customer might feel happy about the fact a product exists out there made just to satisfy their needs. It sounds as simple as it can be.
However, in reality, a product has three categories; core, actual, and augmented.
The first and most important part of product formation is its core, also known as the core benefit. As the name suggests, the core product satisfies your basic need. It leaves you with a feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment.
To nail down your core product game, you must know your target audience inside out. That’s because the actual product may be different core products to different audiences. For example, a pair of sneakers can be a comfort footwear for one person but a fashion statement for another.
The core product concept is challenging to grasp because it varies from person to person. This article will make it easy for you to understand what is a core product, why it is important, and some common examples of core products.
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What is Core Product?
A core product is a primary or core benefit or a basic need satisfaction a customer gets from purchasing a tangible (physical product) or intangible product (service) with some added value.
In simple words, people don’t make purchasing decisions based on one core benefit or need. The buying decision is heavily influenced by the added value to the core product.
For example, a person regularly buys healthy snack bars. Snack bars are healthy, save cooking time, and are a convenient grab-and-go snack. The core product is ”hunger relief,” whereas all the added value makes the actual product appealing to the buyer.
Similarly, you may buy Coca-Cola every time you feel thirsty. The core product is ”quenching thirst,” which any product can do for you. However, the added value of holding a brand and looking cool comes as an added advantage.
The core product or service is an essential part of the company’s existence and business;
- WHY does it want to develop a certain product/service? Or, in other words, WHY would people buy it?
- WHAT value can it provide to its target audience? Or WHAT value will make the core product more appealing to the buyers?
Kotler’s Five Levels of Product
An economist Philip Kotler came up with the five levels of product. These levels are used as a method to understand customer behavior all around the world. Salesmen and marketers innovate products and services by understanding customer needs, wants, and demands.
Each level, including a core benefit, represents a different category of product level. That is important to the customer’s purchase. Here are five levels of products as per Kotler.
The core benefit is the need, want, or desire that the customer has to satisfy by purchasing a product. For example, the customer buys bottled water. The first need is to quench thirst and not go for the design and pattern of the water bottle.
This level of the product will only satisfy the customers if the main features of use are available. These features make the product function; otherwise, the product might lose its importance. For example, supplement pills. The most important feature is the nutrition it provides the body other than its color, taste, or shape.
An expected product is a mix of features and traits customers expect to have in a product. This expectation varies from person to person. For example, a cell phone user purchases to have uninterrupted communication, whereas another customer might expect convenience.
The augmented product is a level ahead of the basic use of the product. This gives the customer more features, value, and a choice while purchasing. The augmented product can often set you apart from your competition. For example, you buy a cell phone, and the connection will give you free internet minutes for the first month of its purchase.
A potential product is a set of features or changes a company plans to make to its existing products in the future. In a fast-changing environment, the product might fail to meet the demand of its customers. Therefore, companies continue to tweak their existing products with new features and technologies. This improves customer experience. For example, a restaurant changes its appetizers once every quarter. This adds the element of surprise for every customer visit.
Importance of Core Product
First things first, the core product is the most important part of a product, and it is the initial thing that a consumer considers. Here customers want to get past the basic need to climb up the ladder of luxury.
Your customers won’t pay attention to other offers and features until your product meets their wants. For example, the customer who goes to a restaurant for food won’t sit in for the ambiance or impeccable customer service until they serve the food.
Core Product provides a purpose for the company to exist and for the customer to buy as long as the need is in demand.
Besides all of the above, the core product is important because;
- It Provides Solutions To Problems. These problems can range from simple to complex. But getting them solved makes the community a happy place. People don’t pay for the products; they pay for the solutions.
- It Helps People Move Up The Hierarchy Of Needs. According to Maslow, people will never move up the ladder of the hierarchy until their basic needs are met. People will only move from core products to augmented and expected products when they’ll feel ready for more value.
- Makes Room For Improvement And Research. Customers tell you what else you can add to the product and how you can improve the customer experience. Which features should you add or remove from the product? For example, Canva is a basic graphic design tool. However, now comes with website templates, a word document, and team-sharing options.
Core Product Examples
We’ve gathered some great examples to give your more clarity on the core product across different industries.
Core Product of a Restaurant
You know, restaurants for food and temporary residence. It’s not the building, ambiance, or customer service but food and comfort. You can position these two basic features into its core products. To make your customers come back, you might want to add value to their choice, and you can do this in different ways. Businesses can do it either by making the core products accessible or adding augmented products to their core product.
Core Product of a Software
Let’s take the example of a software company. The company builds software for its customers and optimizes them for better functionality. The core product of a software company is the functionality of the software, which can be data management or payroll management. This means all other added features, such as online media and data science services, are built on top of the core product.
Core Product of Jollibee
The core product of Jollibee is its breaded fried chicken. It comes in different flavors, sidelines, and variations. The core product is Chickenjoy, famous for its unique taste. Without Chickenjoy’s presence, augmented products will not work. People dine in Jollibee for the breaded fried chicken experience. Augmented products to compliment the core benefit are; a fun family atmosphere, friendliness service, etc.
Core Product of Starbucks
The core product of Starbucks is its coffee. People line up every day in and out of Starbucks to get coffee. You wouldn’t go to Starbucks for any other complementary snack unless it is available with its core product, coffee. The augmented product to top off its core product is the free WIFI, other snacks, a welcoming working environment, etc.
The core product is the need or benefit around which the actual product is built, and everything revolves around it. The core product serves the main purpose of creating products with great functionality to satisfy the needs of society.