How to Market for Tangible & Intangible Products

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Differentiation makes tangible products seem distinct to consumers.
Differentiation makes tangible products seem distinct to consumers. (Image: Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Marketers develop and sell products. However, in the marketing world a “product” can be almost any commodity that can be marketed, publicly represented or advertised. A product can be a good, service, idea, event or even a person. The marketing process can include attempts to persuade to buy the product or service, to adopt an idea or to look at a company or person in a favorable light. Explaining the value of the product to the potential consumer is key. First, marketers must determine who the potential customers are, and how to reach them.

Tangible Products

Classify the product as either nondurable or durable. Nondurable goods are consumed within a relatively short time after purchase. Food and hygiene products are examples of nondurable goods. Durable goods are items that last for several uses and for a long time. Appliances and clothing are examples of durable goods.

Differentiate the product by making it different, or by making it seem different, from competing products. Some products are very basic, for example bananas or raw steel, and that basic nature makes the products hard to differentiate. Conversely, some products are easily differentiated. Furniture and bath soap are two easily differentiated products.

Communicate the differentiation of the product to potential customers. This involves determining the demographics and lifestyle choices of the pool of potential customers, also known as target market members. Create a message describing the product and appealing to the needs of the target market members. Use research to discover the chosen mediums of potential customers and advertising on those mediums.

Extend the product line using funds raised from the initial product. Create new types of products with separate differentiation to appeal to other target markets. This extends the life of the product and contributes to the growth of the company.

Intangible Products

Classify the product as intangible. Intangible products are inseparable from the provider of the product. Internet service and haircuts are examples of intangibles.

Add value or improve quality. Intangibles also need differentiation, but without physical features. Markets can add value by reducing the price or improve quality by offering more intangible features.

Market the intangible in a similar way as a tangible. Identify the target market and appeal to the potential customers via their chosen mediums. Put extra emphasis on the quality or value of the service.

Monitor customer satisfaction and supply customer service. Customers of intangibles expect a high degree of responsiveness, in an accurate and timely manner. For intangibles that are ideas or public persona, use public relations (PR) research to keep track of social sentiments and PR tactics to maintain a positive image.

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