Concept of Product
The product is the most tangible and important single component of the marketing programme. The product policy and strategy is the cornerstone of a marketing mix. If the product fails to satisfy consumer demand, no additional cost on any of the other ingredients of the marketing mix will improve the product performance in the market Place.
To the marketer products are the building blocks of a marketing plan. Good products are key to market success. Product decisions are taken first by the marketers and these decisions are central to all other marketing decisions such as price, promotion and distribution.
It is the engine that pulls the rest of the marketing programme. Products fill in the needs of society. They represent a bundle of expectations to consumers and society.
The product concept has three dimensions:
- Managerial Dimension
It covers the core specifications or physical attributes, related service, brand, package, product life-cycle, and product planning and development. As a basis to planning, product is second only to market and marketing research.
The product offering must balance with consumer-citizen needs and desires. Product planning and development can assure normal rate of return on investment and continuous growth of the enterprise.
- Consumer Dimension
To the consumer a product is actually a group of symbols or meanings. People buy things not only for what they can do, but also for what they mean. Each symbol communicates a certain information. A product conveys a message indicating a bundle of expectations to a buyer.
Consumer’s perception of a product is critical to its success or failure. A relevant product is one that is perceived by the consumer as per intentions of the marketer. Once a product is bought by a consumer and his evaluation, i.e., post-purchase experience is favourable, marketers can have repeat orders.
- Social Dimension
To the society salutary products and desirable products are always welcome as they fulfill the expectations of social welfare and social interests. Salutary products yield long-run advantages but may not have immediate appeal.
Desirable products offer both benefits, immediate satisfaction and long-run consumer welfare. Society dislikes the production of merely pleasing products which only give immediate satisfaction but which sacrifice social interests in the long-run.
Marketers have to fulfill the following social responsibilities while offering the products to consumer:
- Conservation and best use of resources,
- Safety to users,
- Long-run satisfaction of consumers,
- Quality of life, concern for better environment,
- Fulfilment of government regulations relating to composition, packaging and pricing of many products.