Marketing Everyone Forgets: The Product

Where value describes the use of the purchase, a product is the embodiment of this use. The product is a fundamental aspect within sales. If there is no product, there is nothing the customer can buy. Often overlooked by marketers, the product is the most powerful tool of communication the marketer has access to.

To better conceptualise how marketers distinguish between value and product, consider a car. The value in the car is how easily, quickly, and safely the car brings you from point A to B. While this is a little simplified we can agree that the core benefit of a car is the ability to transport people. The physical object which is the car allows delivery of this value.

It is important to note that not all products are so apparent- but there is always a product involved. Sometimes, however, the product is not physical. Buying insurance give you the value of mitigating risk to yourself. The product is the promise to shoulder the risks (embodied also through a contract), while the value is the peace of mind and security which insurance brings. While a doctor’s visit provides the value of ensuring your health, the product is the information you gained while visiting him. Because the product in these cases are so intangible, physical evidence of the bill and prescriptions are used as proof.

In a marketing context, the product is very important due to several reasons. Firstly, the product directly enables value in the purchase. Without a product, value cannot be achieved. As such a crucial aspect in defining consumer value, the product design, method of manufacture, and packaging play important roles in adding value.

Cathy is a bodybuilder looking for new weights. As she approaches the isle, she notices several big brands. Some of the weights are barely packaged at all, and others include heavy cardboard coverings. One in particular catches her eye- a weight set shaped hexagonally with creative packaging which allows customers to touch the weights while still offering plenty of protection. The weights are made of rubber, and the handle is a shiny stainless steel. “Not only will these not roll across the floor due to the shape, but the rubber will ensure the floor is not scratched, and the stainless steel handles look very durable,” Cathy mused. She looks to the back of the packaging, where she sees “materials sourced and manufactured in the USA.”

In the previous example, what is the value which Cathy is looking for? While the product was weights, her ultimate goal was to keep fit and build muscles. The weights simply allow Cathy to do this.

It can be seen that the product adds value in multiple ways. Not only is the packaging attractive, but it is also convenient. By allowing customers to see and touch the product, it can let them see the quality of the product.

The product designer also obviously kept consumers in mind while making the product as well. Everything from the shape to the materials added value on top of the core benefit of the product.

Finally, it can be said that the supply chain for the product is clearly stated and conveys quality. This particular weight, which was made in the USA, conveys the idea that the materials used are real, and the product is likely very durable. As such, Cathy can trust that this weight is worth the money.

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