Product Offer can range firm the Generic to the Potential
1. The generic product
2. The branded product
3. The differentiated product
4. The customized product
5. The augmented product
6. The potential product
The generic product: The Generic product is the unbranded and undifferentiated commodity like rice, bread, flour, or cloth. Here, the product does not have an identity through a name and is not linked to any one maker or owner.
The branded Product: The branded product gets an identity through a ‘name’. Lalkhila Basmati rice, Modern bread, and Annapurna atta are branded products.
The differentiated Product: The differentiated product enjoys further distinction from other similar products / brands in the market. The marketer endows his brand with some special attributes / qualities and claims uniqueness for his offer. The differentiation claimed may be ‘tangible’ with a distinction on ingredient, quality, utility or service. It may also be intangible or ‘psychological’ highlighted by subtle sales appeals.
Maggi noodles, and Dettol soap examples of differentiated products with tangible differentiation. Maggi claims a tangible distinction over other brands of noodles. It is ready in two minutes and involves very little cooking. It is available with different ‘taste makers’ for the vegetarian and the non-vegetarian users. The differentiation is tangible and rests on the planks of convenience and variety. Among bath soaps Dettol is differentiated on the basis of its ability to provide total protection from germs.
The scope for differentiation is immense and to win over customers firms seek higher levels of differentiation through customizing and augmenting of the product.
The customized Product: A product that is adapted to the requirements of the individual customer is a customized product. Today, many products coming from the IT and telecom industries have large degree of customization built into them. For example, the telephone ‘knows’ which language a given user would like to use while calling a long distance operator. It will also allow him to create a distinctive ring so that his best friend knows that he is calling. And, it can also recognize his most frequently called numbers, not just by numbers, but by name as well.
The Augmented Product: The augmented product is the result of voluntary improvements brought about by the manufacturer in order to enhance the value of the product. The firm goes beyond all expectations of the consumers. It finds out through market research how the value of its product can be enhanced. Using the insights so gathered the firm augments the product by adding extra features and functions to it.
Examples off augmented products: Titan, added protective packing to its alarm clocks and claims “Here is a travel clock with a protective shutter. Available in 3 dial options and 4 elegant colors”. Aristocrat introduced suitcases with wheels. The wheel was an extra facility an augmentation to the luggage. Instead of lifting and carrying the suitcase the user could now pull it on its wheels. Hindustan Motors augmented its Ambassador car and offered the Ambassador 1800 ISZ, incorporating into the car, the 1817 cc, 74 HP, Isuzu engine, 5 synchromesh gears with an overdrive, power assisted brakes progressive suspension diaphragm clutch, a new dash board and bucket seats. The augmentation translated into faster pick up, greater speed, sure stopping and greater comfort.
Companies resorting to the product development route in their marketing strategy are basically in the game of continuous augmentation of products.
The potential Product: The potential product is ‘tomorrow’s product’ carrying all the improvement and finesse that is possible under the given technological economic and competitive conditions. For example, today, a robot available for domestic help can be considered a potential product. In actual practice, development of potential products is the forte of big companies since heavy resources are required for this task.