Products are the goods a business offers to consumers. The product marketing mix defines all the elements necessary to sell these goods in the marketplace. As part of the overall marketing mix (which also includes price, place and promotion), product plays the most important role in marketing strategy development. Businesses determine their target market, branding and positioning by examining their product benefits and features.
Products represent the heart of a business; if they fail to sell, the business fails. They also help business owners make decisions about all the other parts of the marketing mix (cost, distribution and advertising). The goods they sell must offer a timely solution to a particular problem. Define the product by noting its benefits and features and considering how the product differs from its competition. The definition must also consider the life cycle of the product in the marketplace (Is it new or existing?).
According to the Small Business Administration, product strategies include selling one specialty product, offering a narrowly defined product line or developing a broad range of goods. Many businesses start with a small number of products and then expand their product line. Product mix, the number and depth of goods, will affect overall branding and positioning of the business. It especially affects price, which must include the cost of manufacturing, distribution and promotion.
Identifying Target Market
The target market of a product is the group of people most likely to purchase it. These people have the problem that the product solves. Branding and positioning depend on knowing who will buy the product, where they will buy it (distribution), what they like aesthetically (branding) and where they will learn about the product (promotion). Demographic information (such as age, sex and income) can be found through industry associations and market research companies.
Branding describes the look and “personality” of product packaging and marketing. When considering the product marketing mix, business owners should decide whether to brand the whole product line with the business name or develop a separate brand name for each product. According to Consumer Psychologist, consumers will accept extended branding using the business name if the business is credible as a producer of the item, the product is compatible with others in the line and the branding does not associate a high-quality name with a low-quality product.
The positioning portion of the product marketing mix defines how consumers view the product features and how the consumers relate to these attributes. When determining positioning, business owners look at the ideal points, or key attributes, that a consumer looks for in a product. Positioning uses adjectives to describe the product attributes. For example, a product could be described as luxury vs. budget-conscious or safety vs. aesthetics. The business owner uses these points to develop their promotional strategies and materials.