Marketing Mix – Product in 4 Ps

Marketing mix is made up of four Ps. These four variables are interconnected and interdependent. These variables are known as 4 Ps of marketing mix i.e. Product, Price, Place and Promotion. Marketers use this tool to determine an effective marketing strategy to launch a product. Each element should be given due importance when needed.

What is a Product

“Anything that can be offered to a market for attention, acquisition, use or consumption that might satisfy a want or need. It includes physical objects, services, persons, places, organizations and ideas”. Kotler, Wong, Saunders, Armstrong

An iPhone mobile device, a Volvo Truck, a Bank Account and consultation with a Doctor are all products. According to the marketing mix product definition, a product is anything that is offered in a market to satisfy human wants and needs. Product marketing mix is not the name of tangible goods. Broadly, it includes physical objects, persons, place, organizations and even ideas or combination for these characteristics.

Product Classification

Products can be classified into the following categories

Intangible Products. These are touchable and physical items, for example, a mobile device, a marketing book, MacBook Pro laptop, a Car.

Intangible Products. These are untouchable and nonphysical items, but you can feel it, for example, website, your bank account.

Consumer Products and Services These items are bought by end users for personal consumption, for example, dairy items, shirts, motorbike. On the other hand, consumer services include postal services, salon haircut, educational institution etc.

Industrial Products and Services. Those items bought for further processing or use in a business. for example, raw material, machinery, and parts.  The industrial services include business advisory services.

Levels of Product that Create Customer Value & Benefits

Every marketer must understand the target market, in this way, he will know what benefits to offer, how to position the product and what will be a unique selling proposition.

Core Product. The core is not the physical product but consists of all the benefits associated, that make the actual product more valuable. A good example is speed, it can help you to travel quickly.

Actual Product. It is the physical and tangible product. In this stage, additional benefits and customer value is added which can differentiate the product. there are five characteristics i.e. product name, packaging, styling, features and product quality. Take the example of a car you can test drive and buy. All these five characteristics are carefully combined to provide core benefits. A comfortable and safe drive.

Augmented Product. In simple words, augmented product means offering after-sale benefits and services. For example, a watch manufacturer may offer a warranty, blog forum, customer support.

Marketing Mix Product Decisions

There are three types of product decisions i.e. Individual product decisions, product line decision and product mix decision.

Individual Product Decisions

Those decisions which are related to the development and marketing of individual products. These decisions are.

  • Attributes. These product attributes are tangible and include quality, design, features and style.
  • Branding. It may be the name, logo, sign and symbol or combination of these. These are used to differentiate products and services from competitors.
  • Packaging. This includes all the activities of wrapping a product that helps to identify, protect and display information that makes it marketable.
  • Labeling. It includes from simple tags to a product to a complex graphics. It describes the important information about the product.
  • Product Support Services. It is one of the elements of the product decision strategy. These services augment actual product.

Product Line Decisions

A group of closely related products that engage same marketing efforts – types of outlets and price ranges – sold to the same customer groups.  Product line decisions include

Product line length decision. It is the number of products in a product line. This is greatly affected by the company resources and objectives. For example, a company can choose longer product line to safeguard itself from economic fluctuations. The company product line is too short if the company can add items to increase profitability, the company product line it too long if the can shorten items to increase profitability.

Product Line Expansion Decisions. There are two ways to expand the product line. One is Line Filling. It means adding an item(s) to the existing rang of line. The other is line stretching that means lengthening line beyond its existing range.

What is Product Mix in Four Ps of Marketing Mix

All the products and services that a company decides to offer its customers is known as product mix. The product is a curial part when development marketing mix strategy that includes price, promotion and place.

Many companies offer several product lines and items which is called a company product mix also product assortment.  In other words, a combination of a company’s products is known as product mix.

For example, a cosmetic brand has three main products lines i.e. cosmetics, artificial jewelry and fashion. Each product line is divided in sublines. Cosmetics may have lipstick, nail polish, base pounder and so on. Each of its line and sub-line may have its own products.

Four Dimensions of Product Mix

There are four important product mix dimensions i.e. width, length, depth and consistency.

  • Width. It means the number of product lines the company offers to its customers.
  • Length. Length of the product mix means total number of products a company is offering. For understanding, if a company has 3 product lines and each product line comprises 5 products it means have 3 x 5 = 15 products.
  • Depth. Product mix depth means a total number of products within a specific product line. The depth is all the products within the product line.
  • Consistency. Product mix consistency means the linkage within each other. Less variation lead to more consistency in the mix.

Product Mix Vs Product Line

In overall product mix means set of all products a company is offering to sell. On the other hand, product line refers to those products closely related. Different companies have product mix because it diversifies the company offerings. Instead of one product company focuses on a range of products to stratify its target market. By doing this, one type of products unable to capture market share the other types can perform well.

Product Development

There are two ways to get a new product. One way is through acquisition – buying the entire company or patents rights and then produce that company product.  The other way is to get a new product through new product development using your company’s R&D. Using these two ways, you can approach newly targeted markets and niche in the market.

New Product Development

Philip Kolter in principles of marketing describes 8 Steps in New Product Development.

  1. Idea Generation
  2. Idea Screening
  3. Concept Development and Testing
  4. Marketing Strategy
  5. Business Analysis
  6. Product Development
  7. Test Marketing
  8. Commercialization

What factors influences the New Product Success?

Why do new products fail? Many companies are struggling to learn how to increase the probabilities of new product success. According to various studies, the secret of the successful new product relies on developing unique and superior products, new features, and focused on high value and quality.

Another factor that influences the success of a new product is a well-defined concept prior to new product development. Here the company should assess its product target markets, its requirements and benefits.

Senior Management commitment to innovation and proficiency is another key success factor when executing new product development.

Before your company successfully commercialize a new product, keep your focus on understanding a company’s market, competitors and customers.

Product Life Cycle (PLC)

When a new product develops and launches it goes through a sequence four stages i.e. introduction, growth, maturity and decline stage. These distance stages are known as product life cycle. These distinct stages are closely related with the market situation and thus greatly influence the marketing mix and marketing strategy.

  • Introduction stage. In this period product sales growth is slow. company struggles to build product awareness in the target market.
  • Growth stage. Here the sales start to increase and company looking for reasonable market share and brand preferences.
  • Maturity stage. Here the growth slows down. The main objective is to maximize the profit by sustaining the market share to the last level.
  • Decline stage. The product sales start declines. In this stage the product marketing mix decision involves different strategies to adopt for example the management should review the product sales, profit, cost and market share regularly. The company can harvest the product in the hope of increasing product or liquidate it.

Characteristics of a Successful Product

  • Provides a solution to the customer’s problems, needs and wants
  • Product must be easy to use for customer
  • It must provide a better user experience
  • It must have a durable and attractive visual design
  • Minimize the product cost to better profit margins
  • Pricing should be according to the product quality