A product, in marketing , is any good or service that a company produces for the purpose of marketing it and satisfying a consumer need .
Without a doubt, the product is considered the most important element of the marketing mix. Since all other variables depend on the product, you cannot think of setting a price if there is no product.
Similarly, you can not think of how to communicate the benefits offered, if you still do not have a product to market.
On the other hand, it is impossible to establish a distribution strategy if we do not yet know what we are going to sell in the market .
Therefore, the product is the first idea that is generated, planned and developed within marketing, because without a product it is practically impossible to do proper marketing planning.
Of course, for something to be considered a product for marketing, the satisfactor produced must be marketed within the market.
Product and need relationship
Furthermore, a product must always be related to the need it satisfies, since the same satisfier can be used to cover a different need by consumers.
For example, in the case of a gym:
- In this topic we could find a user who goes to the gym in order to cover a health need. It could happen that you are overweight and have diabetes, so your doctor may recommend that you should lose weight.
- Someone else may use the gym for cosmetic purposes. That is to say, it can be healthy, but what this person seeks is to define his figure so that he obtains an attractive body.
- We could also find a person who attends the gym with the purpose of attending to a social need. In this situation, he is not interested in health or the aesthetics of his body; Instead, the gym allows you to be able to get in touch with people you like to strengthen your social relationships.
Either way, we can realize that the product is the same, but it is used to achieve different objectives, according to the expectations that each consumer or user of the service manages.
There are different ways to classify products, the most significant are:
1. Goods and services
Goods are the products that when a consumer compares them, he acquires ownership of the good. In contrast, when a service is required, only the need is met, but you do not own the product.
So, in this case we can talk about the same product and although it satisfies the same need, we realize that it is different to buy a good or service.
For example, a car that serves the need for transportation. If a person buys a car for their private use, it covers the need to be able to use it for transportation, but they own the property.
On the other hand, if you request the service of an Uber, even if it is the same car and the same brand, in this case it only satisfies the need to be able to transport itself to its destination, but at no time does it acquire ownership of the car, so I buy a service.
2. Tangible and intangible product
Likewise, a tangible product is a good that has a physical or material existence, so when a person requests it, they can see it, touch it or perceive it with all their senses. On the contrary, an intangible product in a product that we cannot see or touch; but it also satisfies a need.
- A tangible product is for example a shirt, from which we can appreciate the color, texture, size, design, among others.
- While an intangible product can be the communication or electric power service; which we do not appreciate physically, but help us meet our needs.
3. Product for consumption and use
On the other hand, a consumer product is one that after meeting a need completely disappears or loses its ideal characteristics to respond to the objective, for which it was designed.
In relation to the products of use they are those that solve a need, but still maintain their ideal characteristics, because they can be used several times.
To illustrate this classification, a consumer product can be a hamburger that after satisfying a person’s hunger disappears; We can also think of disposable products, which can only be used once.
A product of use can be a computer or a phone, which are used countless times and continue to maintain their ideal characteristics as satisfactory.
The products of use can be subdivided into:
- Durable use products:Since they have been created to have a very long useful life such as a car or stove.
- Non-durable use products:These can be used several times, but their useful life is shorter as in the case of a toothbrush or a pencil.
4. Raw materials, semi-finished and finished products
Now, the materials are products that cannot be consumed in their original state, but must be transformed by the user, in order to be used.
The semi-finished products are almost ready to be consumed, so the consumer needs to carry out some process in order to be used for final consumption.
Consequently, finished products are those that when they come onto the market are completely ready to be used.
- A product considered a raw material can be pancake flour, since nobody eats the flour in its original state.
- A semi-finished product can be a piece of furniture produced by Ikea, which sells the pieces, but if the consumer does not put them together, they do not have a piece of furniture.
- Finished it can be a television that we just connect and it is ready to be used.
5. Domestic and industrial products
So, when we talk about products for domestic or industrial use we are referring to the same product, the only difference is who uses it.
A shampoo can be used at home if purchased by a family, for personal hygiene; but it can be of industrial use when it is used by a beauty salon that uses them within its services or markets them.
6. Products of conviction, comparison and convenience
Above all, the difference between these products is the price and the time it takes to decide to make a purchase decision.
On the one hand, a product of conviction is a high-priced product where people are convinced of the quality and benefits they acquire, for which they pay high prices.
On the other hand, those of comparison, are the products where consumers before buying the product compare prices and qualities, before deciding to buy it.
Finally, convenience stores are inexpensive, and for that reason, people don’t take long to buy a product.
- A Rolex is a product of conviction.
- A pair of shoes is a comparison product.
- A box of matches is a convenience product.
To finish, we can say that every company, that wants to be successful, before designing and developing products, must be based on a serious task of marketing research. Everything, with the aim of obtaining information on the unmet needs of consumers; and on these data present the appropriate product proposals that best meet the needs of the market.