What is a “Product” from a marketing point of view?
Updated: Jul 2, 2020
The traditional definition of a product, from a marketing perspective, is that everything, that can be offered for any use or consumption, and somebody is willing to pay for, is a product.
Can a product be almost anything?
Thus, almost anything can be classified as a product from the perspective of marketing. Whether it is an idea, service, business, person or traditional tangible product that can be touched, smelled or eaten. Then tangible products can either be developed, and have a strong market position, or underdeveloped with little or no market presence. Politics and politicians are a good example of something that most people does not regard as a product, in the same sense as e.g. coffee, but they are in the sense of marketing.
Is the packaging a part of the product?
It is very important in marketing to define from the beginning what kind of product is to be offered. The product must have some desirable features or qualia, such as design, strength, taste or something like that. The product must meet standards, laws and regulations that apply to the relevant market. All technical aspects and permits must be in place. The packaging is a part of the product, from a marketing point of view, and must be attractive, practical and in accordance with laws and regulations. But this is still not enough.
Politics and politicians are just another product like coffee from a marketing point of view.
Who will buy a product that is not available?
Even the perfect product is useless unless it is marketed. No one will buy a product that is not available to the buyer. Contracts must be concluded with distributors and sales channels secured. The seller must ensure that external packaging is in order and that distribution routes are open, functional and secure. When all this is ready, the real marketing work can begin.
Who are you talking to?
Marketing is a complicated and diverse process and many things to be considered. Whether you are going to market the product to businesses (B2B) or direct to consumers (B2C)? When that is clear, there are still millions of different ways to reach your potential customers, whether they are consumers or businesses. But the essence of all marketing is storytelling. Sometimes the story may have to do with the price, some way the customer can benefit from the product, the suppliers of the raw material or the people behind the product or the company. But marketing is always a story of some kind and the marketer must always know who he is talking to.
Can you skip any of the steps?
The same goes for cooking and marketing. If you skip any of the steps the result will not be as good.
Social media is a great tool for telling stories. But in order to use it, the product must be ready, in the sense that is explained above, and sales and distribution routes must be secured. History holds countless examples of great marketing efforts of a product that was not ready for market. Or where good enough sales and distribution channels were not available. All of these efforts ended badly and money was thrown away. No steps can be skipped if you aim for success!
What is the nature of Social Media?
But all of this is not enough to start a successful Social Media marketing campaign. If managers and marketers do not understand the nature and the essence of these media, the results will never be as good as it could otherwise have been. Keep in mind that Social Media is primarily about people, relationships and trust. That is their true nature! More on that later. By Svavar Halldorsson
TV journalist and Food Marketing & Social Media Strategy Consultant. Fan of good, fair and clean food and wine.