3.4.1 Product (or service)
The product or service relates to what is being marketed, including range, sizes, colours and functions. This is now taken to cover services as well and is referred to as the product or service package.
To attract customers from existing products, and to develop completely new consumers and customers, the product or service should be innovative in some way. It should be distinctive in having its own unique selling proposition (USP). In addition, if the product or service is to sell successfully in reasonable volumes it must also provide tangible and intangible customer benefits. Traditionally, marketers have always defined a product as being a bundle of benefits. According to Dibb et al. (1998), the customer is obtaining three levels of benefit from the product:
- the core product benefits
- the actual product benefits
- the augmented product benefits.
The core product benefits are the same for all competitors. The actual and augmented benefits include those additional benefits associated with the innovative product or service you are bringing to market. This may be customer service, product design, etc.
It is important to recognise the difference between a product, which can be returned if faulty, and a service, which is usually consumed as it is produced and cannot be stored.
Case study: Dafydd and Ffion
Dafydd and Ffion thought this idea through with regard to their new business. They looked at the core, actual and augmented benefits for their eco-friendly holiday lettings business and came up with the following:
- Core: the opportunity to holiday in a beautiful, unspoilt rural location close to nature
- Actual: provision of high quality and sustainable self-catering holiday accommodation designed to specifically meet the needs of people who are environmentally conscious and who care about their eco-footprint
- Augmented: small environmental and carbon footprint.
Task 18: Establishing levels of benefit from the product
Consider what comprises your core, actual and augmented product or service.
Does being rurally located play a part?
Can you use location to enhance your offering in some way?
Share your thoughts with other entrepreneurs in your local networks.