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Marketing all around us - The five levels of the product

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A bit of marketing - it won't hurt!

According to my experiences, nowadays most of the people feel a little bit of antipathy when it comes to marketing, as most of us identify this word with the big, baaad companies that want to make us buy their products and are exploiting us and the environment.

In reality, the word marketing covers a much bigger topic than that and is a very interesting study. Maybe as you know I have studied marketing and I have to admit I loved to get to know the basic things that marketing also includes – like this topic, which is the 5 levels of the product.

This is one of the basics of marketing and should be very important for each company that want to know how to satisfy the needs of their customers. According to Wikipedia, a product is ‘anything that can be offered to a market that might satisfy a want or need’. So this means the word product can also mean the sweet promise/hope that the physical product in your hand can offer, like you will be as beautiful when you use the body lotion, as the women in the ad. This might be weird, but think about it: you really bought that lotion last time because you really think it will help you/make you more beautiful, etc.

The 5 levels of the product

The 5 levels of the product

Also, several added values can be given to each product – basically everything you can think of when speaking about a product can fit into the following categories:

The 5 product levels

  • Potential product – it is the final product that is available on the market and that the consumers can buy. This includes all the additional values and augmentations that the company finally included in the product to differentiate it from the competitors’ products.
  • Augmented product – those attributes of the product that can differentiate it from the competitors’ products and might provide a slight advantage over them for the consumers. These may include the brand name, the design, the packaging, the overall quality, the additional functions (apart from the basic features), the installation, the after-sale service, the warranty, the home delivery and the possibility to accept credit from the consumers.
  • Expected product – the properties that the product has and that are absolutely necessary for the consumer to think about buying the product.
  • Basic product – the basic product that might satisfy the inner needs of the consumer. On this stage the product only contains those values that are totally necessary for it to function.
  • Core benefit – the inner need that urges the consumers to buy something, no matter if it is a product or a service. The main aim of consumers is to satisfy this inner urge.

Example of a service: a hotel room

  • Core benefit: the inner urge of customers to sleep and have some privacy and silence.
  • Basic product: a hotel room with a single bed, and basically that’s all.
  • Expected product: a hotel room with a bed that is neat and clean, and the room has at least a small bathroom.
  • Augmented product: a hotel room with a bed in a popular hotel; the room has a nice bathroom with hair dryer, is air conditioned and has a TV and a minibar.
  • Potential product: a hotel room with a huge double bed with water mattress, LCD television, a big bathroom with a hydro-massage shower cabin, etc.

Example of a product: car

  • Core benefit: the need to get from one place to another.
  • Basic product: a car on its own; on this level this basically means that the car has 4 wheels :).
  • Expected product: a car that is in working condition, so the owner can use it for transportation, it has decent mileage, etc.
  • Augmented product: a Ford (or any other brand for that matter) that is in fully working condition, has an attractive design, passed all safety tests, has 4-wheel steering, built-in alarm and air condition, etc. The car is also accompanied by other benefits provided by the motor company like warranty, instalments, etc.
  • Potential product: the car is much safer than the competitors’ products; it tends to break down less frequently than other cars, has the best mileage, etc.
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Share your ideas!

Thank you for taking your time and reading this article – I hope now you look at the products (so basically everything around you :)) a bit different and you see that marketing is not a bad thing; it is present in our lives even if we don’t realise it.

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