Meaning and Concepts of Product

The things which fulfill different human needs and give satisfaction are called products/goods. Physical element exists in most of the products/goods. Food stuff, cloths, book, copy, pen, machinery tools etc. have physical existence. There are also goods without physical existence. Doctors’ services, advocators’ services, experiences, ideas, personality etc. have no physical existence. Such things should fulfill consumers’ needs in proper time. If anything or material available in market cannot satisfy the human need, it cannot be said a product. To be counted as products or goods, they should give satisfaction and be useful. Some knowledge of marketing can be obtained by reading this page. Some knowledge of marketing can be obtained by reading this book. So this book can be supposed as a product. A watch kept in a room shows/expresses time, so it is also a product.

Any type of product should be taken as a very important component of marketing mix. This fulfils needs of the society. If there is lack of product/goods, marketing becomes unnecessary and meaningless. Product/goods are needed to accomplish exchange/bartering in market. Exchange becomes impossible in the absence of
products and without exchange marketing becomes impossible. In the lack of products, the components of marketing mix such as place, promotion and price also become meaningless. In the absence of products, advertisement, physical distribution, price etc. become like a motor without driver, classroom without teacher and a boat without a boatman. So, products/goods have the most important place in marketing. Different writers and experts have defined product/goods differently. Among them the important ones have been given as follows:

According to Prof. Philip Kotler, “A product is anything that can be offered to market for attention, acquisition, use or consumption and that might satisfy wants or needs.”
According to George Fisk, “A product is a cluster of psychological satisfaction.”
According to E. J. McCarthy, “Product involves developing the right product, which can be put in the right place and sold with right promotion and price.”
According to W. Alderson, “A product is a set of tangible and intangible attributes including packaging, color, price, quality and brand plus the seller’s service and reputation.”
According to Charles D. Scheue, “A product is the focus on bringing buyers and sellers together to make an exchange.”
The above definitions also make us clear that the meaning of goods is broad. Any consumer goods available in markets with the warranty, service before or after sale, with fee or free maintenance etc. are called products. The goods available in markets include model, quality, attribute, branding, packaging, services, warranty, color, reputation, price etc. In marketing, goods mean the sum total of physical economic, social and psychological benefits. So, goods have an important role in conducting marketing activities systematically. Hence, the goods can be taken as the engine for conducting marketing programs.

Levels of Product

Any types of products or services provide various benefits to the customers or society. They can be studied by dividing in different levels or classes. The study makes us clear that each product has five levels. These levels can be mentioned as follows:

1. Core product

The product which provides basic service is called core product. Such type of product provides different services and benefits to the customers. For instance, a student may buy copy and pen to write and book to study while a customer may buy/hire a comfortable room in a hotel to take rest.

2. Basic product

The goods which provide primary services are called basic products. For example, if a guest of a hotel hires a room, it needs cot, mattress, table, chair, towel, electricity, bath room etc. which should be available.

3. Expected product

Generally, the services or goods expected by a customer are called expected products. Such products have some attributes and conditions. For example, a guest of a hotel expects clean towel, clean bed, table, lamp, peaceful environment etc.

4. Augmented product

The products which provide additional services and facilities to the customers are called augmented products. Free pen in buying book, free ink in buying copy, free toner in buying computer, television facility, fish curry, fruits, telephone services to the guest of a hotel etc. are augmented products.

5. Potential product

The facilities and benefits to be provided in future are called potential products. Such facilities are included to satisfy and attract customers. Such facilities should be provided to compete in market and attract customers. This gives certain satisfaction, pleasure and facility to the customers. All the five levels of a product can also be presented in a single figure.
Product Levels

Features of Product

Each product should fulfill several needs. In fact, the goods should also solve problems along with satisfying the needs. Besides, the product should be as desired and acceptable. Customers or consumers can get satisfaction from such products only after they are available in markets. The products should also have different attributes of the products available in markets. The main features of the goods can be mentioned as follows:

1. Tangible and intangible

A product contains two attributes: seen and unseen attributes. The thing having both the attributes is called product. The goods which we can touch or see are tangible products. Those which we cannot touch and see are intangible products. Radio, television, book, book-self, chair, table etc. are the features of tangible product. Counseling, advising, thought, ideas, experiences, personality, dignity, respect etc. are unseen services and are called intangible products.

2. Satisfaction of needs

Products satisfy innumerable human needs. The physical materials, things, ideas, experiences, thought etc. which cannot satisfy human needs cannot be said products. Any material, product, goods or ideas, experience or so should compulsorily satisfy one or the other needs of human being to be called product. For example, thirst can be quenched by drinking Coca-Cola, fever can be lessened by taking Citamol. These products satisfy us giving one or the other benefits. So, products must have some attribute to satisfy human needs.

3. Exchange value

Each product has its own attributes. The attributes of the product should also be equal to exchange value. In the absence of exchange value in any product, it cannot be bought. If any product cannot be easily bought and sold, it hampers the marketing activities. When such situation arises, the product cannot satisfy human needs. So, it is compulsory to have exchange value in any products.

4. Related attribute

Every product has different attributes. Among them the attribute to satisfy human need is the important one. Besides this, products should have other attributes also. For example, brand packaging, producer’s or company’s reputation, facilities etc. Because of such attributes in the products, the buyers or intermediaries decide to buy the products. This decision becomes indisputable in or within family or organization.

5. Core of marketing mix

Generally, products, ideas, its development, pricing, promotion and distribution are included in marketing mix. Products can be taken as core of the marketing mix. Pricing, promotion, distribution to the customers, expression of ideas in the absence of products etc. become meaningless. So, products play an important role in marketing mix. Products are necessary for marketing mix as the heart is necessary for human being. Marketing activities cannot be conducted without products.

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