Whilst most businesses carry out a number of effective marketing initiatives, the mindset of business leaders is on how a product or service is going to be sold – but even here it is essential to be clear on what we are selling.
Organisations are not in the business of the products and services they offer but rather in the business of identifying and communicating with the customers their products are addressed to i.e. their market segments. This is because if a business is out there to make money, it needs to find and communicate with clients having the need and/or want to purchase it and the willingness to fork out the money. In actual fact, the organisation invests capital in its products which it intends to sell and therefore how, where and to whom to sell it is the crux of the business. The concept is similar with non-profit making organisations in making their cause known and supported.
From the marketing lens, every product or service is essentially satisfying needs, wants and expectations of the end consumers. Thus, one can appreciate that it would be wise for a business to determine what these are, as it will give a better direction on how and where to promote and sell them. For example, distinguishing between communication with the customer (parent who is paying the money) and consumer (a child who asked for a chocolate) or a purchaser of a car and its driver. In addition consumers give value to different products and services. Understanding what and how much consumers value what organisations offer are sensible leads to establish pricing policies, to what extent and where to promote and distribute the products and services.
Also from a marketing viewpoint, a product or service is composed of various features and elements which the client or consumer may expect. To mention a few examples, there is security and peace of mind when people invest in an alarm and CCTV system, insurance and life policies. When buying a designer garment people may feel smart, proud, as if they are making a statement or simply get a ‘feel good’ factor. Today, when buying a car, drivers also look for connectivity.
Even an example like writing instruments could satisfy different needs, wants and requirements. There is reliability when these are needed for drawing and sketching, complementing a professional look for executives; fun, colour and portraying popular characters for children. When eating out, restaurant patrons look for different elements such as the quality of the food, level of service, ambience, among others. On a more individual level, when designing and furnishing a residence, it is giving all that it entails to turn a house into a home.
In addition, a product has a life cycle. An awareness and study of where the products or service offered stand on the market (e.g. how long the fashion or trend for them will take, how long it will take for new technology to be introduced) is also vital to plan the future with commercially viable decisions.