Levels of Product and Services

Product planners need to think about products and services on three levels (see ^ Figure 8.1). Each level adds more customer value. The most basic level is the core customer value, which addresses the question What is the buyer really buying? When designing products, marketers must first define the core, problem-solving benefits or services that consumers seek. A woman buying lipstick buys more than lip color. Charles Revson of Revlon saw this early: "In the factory, we make cosmetics; in the store, we sell hope." AAnd people who buy a BlackBerry smartphone are buying more than a cell phone, e-mail device, or personal organizer. They are buying freedom and on-the-go connectivity to people and resources.

At the second level, product planners must turn the core benefit into an actual product. They need to develop product and service features, design, a quality level, a brand name, and packaging. For example, the BlackBerry is an actual product. Its name, parts, styling, features, packaging, and other attributes have all been combined carefully to deliver the core customer value of staying connected.

Finally, product planners must build an augmented product around the core benefit and actual product by offering additional consumer services and benefits. The BlackBerry solution offers more than just a communications device. It provides consumers with a complete solution to mobile connectivity problems. Thus, when consumers buy a BlackBerry, the company and its dealers also might give buyers a warranty on parts and workmanship, instructions on how to use the device, quick repair services when needed, and a toll-free telephone number and Web site to use if they have problems or questions.

Consumers see products as complex bundles of benefits that satisfy their needs. When developing products, marketers first must identify the core customer value that consumers seek from the product. They must then design the actual product and find ways to augment it in order to create this customer value and the most satisfying customer experience.

H* FIGURE I 8,1 Three Levels of Product

Consumer product

A product bought by final consumer for personal consumption.

Convenience product

A consumer product that customers usually buy frequently, immediately, and with a minimum of comparison and buying effort.

Shopping product

A consumer product that the customer, in the process of selection and purchase, usually compares on such bases as suitability, quality, price, and style.

Specialty product

A consumer product with unique characteristics or brand identification for which a significant group of buyers is willing to make a special purchase effort.

Unsought product

A consumer product that the consumer either does not know about or knows about but does not normally think of buying.

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  • luigi
    What are the core, problemsolving benefits or services that consumers seek?
    8 years ago

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