Components and Levels of Products

A very elaborate and comprehensive picture of the dimensions of the product is drawn by presenting the components of the product as consisting of three levels. These levels are the following.

Core Product:

The core product which is the most fundamental level of the product refers to the core benefit the consumer derives from the product.

In the context of international marketing it is important to note that in some cases although the basic physical product remains the same, the core product differs between markets because the purpose for which product is used is different in these different markets . For example, in India and several other developing countries, bicycles mostly serve the basic purpose of transportation but in several advanced countries they are used mostly for sporting and exercising. This calls for modifications of product design, positioning and communication strategies. Similarly, in some countries beer is regarded as an alcoholic drink; in other it is a soft drink.

Tangible Product:

Tangible product is the actual form, with all its attributes, in which the products is offered to the consumer. For example, Lux toilet soaps, Godrej Refrigerators, Bajaj chetak scooters, Good knight mosquito mats, etc., are tangible products.

The tangible products have certain characteristics like a quality level features, styling a brand name and packaging.

In many cases, modifications to the tangible products are required for marketing in different countries. In some cases such modifications may be necessitated by legal requirements pertaining to quality levels, packaging, labeling etc. Competitive and economic conditions may also call for such modifications. For example, for selling a product in an advanced country, an Indian manufacturer may have to upgrade the product quality and improve the packaging. Sometimes it may be the cultural factors which necessitate modification. For examples, different cultures have different beliefs or notions associated with certain colors, numbers etc. Further in several cases the same word has different meanings in different languages or countries.

Augmented product:

Augmented product refers to certain additional services or benefits offered with the product such as installation, delivery and credit facilities, after sales service and warranty.

The new competition is not between what companies produce in their factories but between what they add to their factory output in the form of packaging, services, advertising, customer advice, financing, delivery arrangements, warehousing and other things that people value.

An Indian firm which ventures to sell its products in the foreign markets which are very competitive should bear these factors in mind. Product augmentation may not be important in a seller’s market but they are very important in the competitive markets which are buyer’s markets.

Product Mix:

The product mix is the full list of all the products offered for sale by a company.

The product mix may consist of one or more product lines. A product line is a group of products that are closely related either because they satisfy a class of need are used together, are sold to the same customer groups, are marketed through the same types of outlets, or fall within given price ranges.

A specific version of a product that has a separate designation in the seller’s list is known as a product item.

The product mix has certain width, depth and consistency. The width refers to the number of different product lines in the product mix. The depth refers to the average number of items offered by the company within each product line. The consistency refers to the extent to which the various product lines are closely related in end use, production requirements, distribution channels, or in some other ways.

One the important decision in international business is the width and depth of the product mix and the length of each product line. It may vary between markets depending upon the market characteristics. It is generally observed that companies do not introduce their full range in some countries, particularly in the developing countries for reasons such as limited competition, lack of demand etc. It has also been a common practice to introduce products in some markets, especially the developing countries, only at a later stage – sometimes only after the product has become obsolete or has reached the maturity or declining stage in the product life cycle.