Meaning of Product Mix
The first element of the marketing mix is Product and it depicts the tangible or intangible goods offered by organisations to customers to satisfy their needs and wants. In simple terms, it is a bundle of utilities. Product Mix means the important decisions related to a product like the design of the product, quality of the product, the quantity of the product, packaging of the product, etc. Besides these decisions, product assortment is also an essential part of the product mix. In simple terms, it means the number or volume of products and items a specific producer offers to the market. For example, ITC is an FMCG company and is dealing with different food products.
When an organisation begins its marketing operations, it usually starts with one product and then later on expands and diversifies its marketing activities by launching new products and varieties to its product line. For example, initially, ITC used to sell tobacco and cigarettes. But now it has a huge range of different product lines of chocolates, biscuits, atta, etc.
The essential components of the product mix are Branding, Packaging, and Labelling.
Banding is one of the most important components of product mix as a marketer has to make an important decision on whether the product of the firm will be marketed under its generic name or brand name. Here, the Generic name means the name of the whole class of the firm’s product. For example, laptop is a generic name but Dell, Acer, and Lenovo are brand names. Now, if a marketer sells its products under a generic name say, laptop then it will be difficult for the firm to sell the product and customers to differentiate between different companies and buy the product. Therefore, it is essential to provide a brand name to the product, so that it can be differentiated from its competitors.
A Brand is a product’s identification and can be in the form of a symbol, design, or name, etc. The purpose of branding is not to just identify the seller or producer, but also make the product superior than the competitor’s product.
Branding along with providing an identification mark shows a seller’s promise to deliver the product with quality and satisfaction as per the expectations of the buyer. Simply put, branding helps an organisation in product differentiation, advertising, pricing, introducing a new product or product lines, ensuring quality, etc.
The act of designing and producing the container and wrapper of a product is known as packaging. It plays a very important role in today’s world as packaging can be a reason for the success or failure of many products. Appropriate containers and wrappers provide protection and convenience in handling the products. For example, juices, soft drinks, etc., are packed in containers, milk, oil, etc., are packed in tetra packs; heavy goods like electronic appliances are packed in boxes, etc. Usually, three different levels of packaging are found in products; viz., Primary Package, Secondary Package, and Transportation Packaging.
The part of the product or a tag which is attached directly or indirectly and carries information about the product or the seller is known as a Label. Labels provide information to the customer. The process of putting identification marks on the package is known as Labelling. Labelling includes information like name of the products, expiry and manufacturing date, instruction for use, weight, price, etc.
Labels can be of the following types:
- Simple Tag: Such tags are usually attached to local products like sugar, wheat, pulses, etc. They provide basic information about the quality or price of the product.
- Elaborate Tag or Descriptive Tag: Such tags are used by branded products. They provide detailed information about the use, performance, features, etc., of the product.
Sometimes statutory warnings, which are essential for products, like cigarettes, tobacco, liquor, etc., are also printed on the label. For example, ‘Smoking causes throat cancer’ is mentioned on the cigarette label.
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