6. Marketing Mix - Product
|> marketing planning overview >|
|1. overview||2. planning||3. swot||4. marketing plan||5. marketing mix||6. product|
|7. price||8. promotion||9. place||10. literature||11. public relations||12. promos|
|13. advertising||14. sponsorship||15. sales|
What are the products features?
What are the benefits of those features?
Do you need all those features?
Where a product is technically orientated
it is not uncommon for the product to contain features that have dubious
benefits as far as the customer is concerned.
These features might be very clever, or even technically brilliant but unless they can be appreciated by the customer and perceived to be of use by the customer then they have no relevance.
Now this in itself is not necessarily a problem except that products with added features usually cost more to manufacture. Your profits are hit.
Alternatively, I have been involved in the
marketing of technical products where some of the more basic requirements for a
successful product are overlooked or ignored - usually because the feature the
customer would like to see is not a technical feature.
An example here is where I was involved with the marketing of the installation of security products such as burglar alarms. In the company, dominated by engineers, the product supplied was sometimes over specified and yet the time spent with customers explaining the way it worked was minimal.
And on many occasions the customer was left with either no instruction booklet at all or was left with a document that more resembled a technical manual! All the customer really needed was something which sets out in layman's terms exactly how to use the product.
How will the product be serviced? Is it the product you are really interested in or the back-up service behind it? Does Hewlett Packard make more money by selling printers or by selling print cartridges and other ancillary products/services? A clear understanding and recognition of points like this will have a dramatic impact on, for example, your pricing strategy!
Depending on how important this is to you will obviously determine how much resource you put into this area and how much expertise you choose to develop. It may be that the development of a thorough and efficient servicing operation provides your company with the competitive edge you are looking for. Alternatively, removing all support for your product and directing your customers to alternative companies might enable you to reduce your overheads substantially and give your product a different competitive edge - that of cost (and hence price).
Is there an opportunity for expanding the product range? In the personal finance market, if you already have a customer who is purchasing a mortgage from you it is not inconceivable that he would be interested in purchasing a pension plan or an insurance policy from you also. Sometimes the inclusion of additional products like this are not as obvious as it might seem and a bit of lateral thinking is called for.