Everything you need to know about the definitions of product. A product is meant to satisfy the need of the customer. It may be referred to as anything that is to be offered to a market that might satisfy a want or need of a consumers.
There are two concepts of product viz., narrow concept and wide concept. Under the narrow concept, a product is a bundle of physical or chemical properties which has some utility.
A product is not a non-living object; it is not a mere assemblage of matter physical and chemical. Utility alone is not the function of the product.
Thus fan, table, T.V, pen, cooler, chair etc., are products. In its wider concept, all the brands, all the colours all the packaging or all the designs of a product is taken to be different products.
Product is an item or a thing that can be offered in a market for the satisfaction of human wants. In a narrower sense, the term ‘product’ denotes tangible goods that have a physical existence.
However, in a broader sense of the term, it includes both tangible goods as well as intangible services. Examples of tangible goods include car, washing machine, mobile etc. Examples of intangible services include banking, insurance, transportation etc.
Learn about the definitions of product propounded by Professor Harry L. Hanson, Professor Phillip Kotler, W. Alderson, Rustam S. Davar, William J. Stanton, Schwartz and a Few Others.
Product Definition as Defined by Eminent Authors
Definitions of Product – Provided by Professor Harry L. Hanson and Professor Phillip Kotler
A product can be safely defined as anything that satisfies the consumer need.
According to Professor Harry L. Hanson “A product is the sum total of three things – THE INTRINSIC CHARACTERISTICS its materials and construction, its ability to perform – THE EXTRINSIC CHARACTERISTICS its packaging, brand or trade mark and THE INTANGIBLES associated with it”.
According to Professor Phillip Kotler, “A product is made up of three parts – TANGIBLE PRODUCT – materials and construction, EXTENDED PRODUCT PART services and GENERIC PRODUCT PART -the benefits”.
Product managers look at the product in a different way that helps them analyze the product further with products, features, benefits and how the product can become better suited to attract consumers. The Product Manager looks at the product at different levels and so that he can modify the product to suit the consumer’s needs and demands.
To explain the Product Manager’s view, we can understand the product levels as defined by the product manager.
(a) Core Product:
The core of the product is its core capacity to satisfy a particular need of a customer. One product core can have multiple capacities to satisfy multiple customer needs.
For example, water at the core level can satisfy the following needs:
Similarly, many other products may have multiple usages/core need satisfying qualities. A marketing manager looks at one or more core qualities of a product and decides what qualities or benefits of that product he should promote. For example, a bicycle can be used as a travelling product or an exercise product. The marketing manager decides whether he wants to promote it as travelling product or a product for exercise.
(b) Generic Product:
A generic product means the product in its natural form. For example, when we think of water as the core product, it is available in its natural form as-
I. Spring water,
II. River water,
III. Well water,
IV. Lake water,
V. Sea water and
VI. Water from the tap.
(c) Expected Product:
A product core may have multiple usages to satisfy the customer’s needs and demands and as per the need, the customer will expect the product in different forms to satisfy his/her need. For example,
I. Need – Thirst- Water in a tumbler, or in a pitcher or a bottle is expected.
II. Need – Cleaning- Water in a bucket or through a tap is expected.
III. Need – Washing- Water in a bucket or through a tap is expected.
IV. Need – Cooling- Cold water or ice cubes are expected.
V. Need – Heating- Hot water in a hot water bag or a pot is expected.
(d) Augmented Product:
Product augmentation is what a marketing manager does for a generic product. Various marketing managers will do various augmentations to a product to make it more and more attractive to customers. This is the stage of the product where the product differentiations will come in.
The augmentations are in terms of additional features that lead to additional benefits to the customers (value additions) and the product becomes more attractive or gains advantages over the competition.
In the above example of water:
I. Need – Thirst- Iced water with fruit syrup/flavor in a clean glass tumbler.
II. Need – Cleaning- Soap water in a bucket and clean water in another bucket.
III. Need – Washing- Warm water.
IV. Need – Cooling- Clean towel soaked in ice water.
V. Need – Heating- Hot water in continuous supply through coil.
(e) Potential Product:
A potential product could be any future innovation that can be applied for a product. For example-
I. Auto pilot facility for motor cars.
II. Foldable bicycle that can be kept in a backpack.
III. Personal flying machine that can be carried in a briefcase.
Definitions of Product – Propounded by Phillip Kotler, W. Alderson, Rustam S. Davar and William J. Stanton
According to Philip Kotler:
“A product is a bundle of physical service and symbolic particulars expected to yield satisfaction or benefits to the buyer”.
According to W. Alderson:
“A product is a bundle of utilities consisting of various features and accompanying services”.
According to Rustam S. Davar:
“A product may be regarded from the marketing viewpoint as a bundle of benefits which are being offered to consumer”.
According to William J. Stanton:
“A product is a complex of tangible and intangible attributes, including packaging, colour, price, manufacturer’s and retailer’s services, which the buyer may accept as offering satisfaction of wants or needs”.
Modern concept does not accept the narrow meaning of product, because it lays emphasis on physical and chemical qualities of product. Consumers are not only ignorant about these qualities, but they do not even evince any keen interest in knowing these qualities.
Narrow definitions of the product do not assimilate in them those features of the product which motivate the buyers to buy the products. Such factors may include services, facilities, conditions and circumstances which work as “base” for the customers who compare the products of one seller with that of the other.
Thus consumers buy those products which provide them more benefits, facilities and satisfaction. For example, if different products, though seem similar from the point of view of quality, design and price, the consumer will prefer that product which provides enough guarantee, credit facilities, after sale service and facilities pertaining to payment in instalments.
Narrow definitions of product are incapable in expressing symbolic aspect of the product. Sidney J. Levy opines, “Goods are not just bought for what they can do for people; but for what they signify.” For example, cars, T. V. and artistic jewellery etc., are bought not only for their utility quality, but also because these possess a symbolic quality. Generally these goods are sign of high standard of living, mental satisfaction, ego-satisfaction and high personality.
The above definitions emerged due to narrow definitions which were not able to clear the meaning of product in the sense of word. Thus new definitions of the product explain the product as those goods as services—visible or non-visible— having any size, quality and quantity, which consumers use to satisfy their wants.
Definitions of Product – Provided by Eminent Authors like Phillip Kotler, Rustom S. Davar and W. Alderson
A product is meant to satisfy the need of the customer. It may be referred to as anything that is to be offered to a market that might satisfy a want or need of a consumers. There are two concepts of product viz., narrow concept and wide concept. Under the narrow concept, a product is a bundle of physical or chemical properties which has some utility.
A product is not a non-living object; it is not a mere assemblage of matter physical and chemical. Utility alone is not the function of the product. Thus fan, table, T.V, pen, cooler, chair etc., are products. In its wider concept, all the brands, all the colours all the packaging or all the designs of a product is taken to be different products.
To illustrate, if a Talcum Powder is produced in three different sizes, these are three products because they satisfy needs of different customers. Thus, if there is a change in the size or colour or brand, or packaging, it produces a new product. The product is thus total package of benefits received by a customer.
George Fisk defines the term ‘product’ as, “Product is a cluster of psychological satisfactions.”
Philip Kotler state that, “A product is a bundle of physical services and symbolic particulars expected to yield satisfactions or benefits to the buyer.”
Rustom S. Davar holds, “A product may be regarded from the marketing point of view as a bundle of benefits which are being offered to consumer.”
W. Alderson opines, “A product is a bundle of utilities consisting of various features and accompanying services.”
Definitions of Product – Propounded by William J. Stanton, Phillip Kotler and W. Alderson
We define a product as anything that can be offered to a market for attention, acquisition, use, or consumption and that might satisfy, a want or need Products include more than just tangible goods.
Broadly defined, products include physical objects, services, persons, places, organisations, ideas or mixes of these entities. Thus, throughout this text, we use the term product broadly to include any or all of these entities.
Because of their importance in the world economy, we give special attention to services. Services are a form of product that consist of activities, benefits or satisfactions offered for sale that are essentially intangible and do not result in the ownership of anything. Examples are banking, hotel, tax preparation, and home repair services.
Product is an item or a thing that can be offered in a market for the satisfaction of human wants. In a narrower sense, the term ‘product’ denotes tangible goods that have a physical existence. However, in a broader sense of the term, it includes both tangible goods as well as intangible services. Examples of tangible goods include car, washing machine, mobile etc. Examples of intangible services include banking, insurance, transportation etc.
According to William J. Stanton, “A product is a combination of tangible or intangible qualities having special packing, colour, price to satisfy wants of the customer”.
As per Philip Kotler, “Product is defined as a thing which attracts attention of prospect so that it can be used and consumed by consumers and is available in the market, which satisfies wants and needs. Product as a wider term consists of visible thing, service, individual, geographical location, organization and ideas”.
Alderson W defines ‘Product is bundle of utilities consisting of various product features and accompanying services’. As we know, utility means want satisfying feature of a product or services.
According to Stanton W.J. ‘A product is a set of tangible and intangible attributes, including packaging, colour, price, manufacturer’s prestige, retailers prestige and manufacturers and retailers services which the buyer may accept as offering satisfaction or wants or needs’.
According to Prof Harry and Hanson Product is the sum total of three things:
i. The intrinsic characteristics, its materials and construction its ability to perform.
ii. The extrinsic characteristics is packaging, brand or trade mark.
iii. The intangibles associated with it.
Definitions of Product – According to Phillip Kotler, Schwartz and Alderson
The entire set of business activities namely purchasing, manufacturing, marketing, distribution, advertising etc. revolve around one important element—the product. Rightfully product has been considered the first and foremost of the 4Ps of marketing.
In a general way a product means a physical commodity or a thing such as -a piece of furniture, a soap, a ready-to-wear garment etc. A marketer however views a product in a much wider angle. A product is not merely a physical commodity. Nobody buys a product merely because it is a physical commodity. A product is bought because of the potential utility it has.
A person buys a product to be used to get utility and thus satisfy a need. Nobody will buy a computer unless it can be used for browsing, processing information etc. Nobody would buy a two wheeler unless it is capable of transporting a person from point A to point B.
Therefore a product is not merely a physical commodity. It is a package of utility or satisfaction or want satisfying power. A person buys a product because of various things such as the brand name, the reputation of the company, the package, the price, the perceived utility, the image, the prestige etc. The term product also includes services and in the present situation the services sector is growing at a faster rate than the manufacturing sector.
Therefore a product is a combination of the physical commodity, the intangible services and the psychological attributes.
“A product is anything that can be offered to a market for attention, acquisition, use or consumption that might satisfy a want or a need”. – Philip Kotler
“A service is any activity or benefit that one party can offer to another that is essentially intangible and does not result in the ownership of anything”. – Philip Kotler
“A product is something a firm markets that will satisfy a personal want or fill a business or commercial need”. – Schwartz
“A product is a bundle of utilities consisting of various product features and accompanying services”. – Alderson
Definitions of Product – Definitions According to Commercial Point of View, Point of View of Law, Marketing Point of View, Economics Point of View
The word product can be traced back to the word produce, which has been derived from the Latin word produce, which means in English “lead or bring forth”. It dates back to the year 1575 where product referred to “anything produced” and this changed to “thing or things produced” in 1695 onwards.
Product can be defined as something that is made or grown to be sold or used or something that is the result of a process or someone or something that is produced or influenced by a particular environment or experience.
One related concept is sub product which is a secondary but useful result of a production process. Product attributes – product Attributes are simply properties of a given product, brand, service, advertisement or any object of interest. Some products require attribute designation. For example, clothes are sold in different colours and sizes. In this case, colour is a product attribute and size is another.
A product, service, or brand can have many attributes including cost, value for money, prestige, taste, usability, liking, and a wide range of image or personality attributes.
To use one very common example, the car or “automobile” brand class can sometimes include attributes such as prestige, cost, reliability, exclusivity, availability, etc.
Usually a client wishes to measure their product or brand as perceived by target markets along several attributes they see important to the brand. If they are in a competitive market, they also sometimes need to know how they rate against competing offerings.
According to Philip Kotler – A product is anything that can be offered to satisfy a need or want. Offering and solution are synonyms to the product in marketing context.
Product can also be defined from various perspectives such as commerce, marketing, law, and economics.
Some definitions are given as under:
Product can be defined as “A good, idea, method, information, object or service created as a result of a process and serves a need or satisfies a want. It has a combination of tangible and intangible attributes which are benefits, features, functions, uses etc., that a seller offers a buyer for purchase. For example a seller of a hairbrush not only offers the physical product but also the idea that the consumer will be improving the health of their hair.”
A product is commercially distributed good that is –
i. Tangible personal property,
ii. Output or result of a fabrication, manufacturing, or production process, and
iii. Passes through a distribution channel before being consumed or used.
Product is “a good or service that most closely meets the requirements of a particular market and yields enough profit to justify its continued existence.”
4. From Economics Point of View:
Adam smith was the first to define a product and called it as “an item that is made or refined and marketed”.
Definitions of Product – With Dimensions
The product policy of a firm is one of the most important aspects of its operation. It is concerned with establishing objectives and guidelines which determine the nature and extent of the goods and services that the firm decides to market to its target customers. It covers existing as well as new goods and services.
For the success of a firm, it is of utmost importance to plain its product, product mix. Successful marketing operations are built around two essential elements —Product and Markets. In other words, the essence of marketing is the bringing together products possessing want satisfying capabilities with markets made up of potential customers having particular funds.
A product may be defined as a bundle of utilities consisting of various product features and accompanying services. The bundle of utilities or the physical and psychological satisfactions that the buyer receives is provided by the seller when he sells a particular combination of product features and associated services. Customer does not buy merely the physical and chemical attributes of a product. He is really buying want satisfaction. He will buy a product which will offer him expected satisfaction.
Thus brand, package, label, price, status of manufacturer and distributor and services offered to the customer constitute a part and parcel of a product. It should be noted that what a buyer buys is mixture not of goods and services, but rather of expected physical and psychological satisfactions. Therefore, the term ‘product’ should not mean the physical product itself but the total product including brand, package, label, price, status of manufacturer and distributor and services offered to the customer in addition to the physical goods.
According to Philip Kotler, “A product is anything that can be offered to a market for attention, acquisition, use of consumption; it includes physical objects, services, personalities, place, organisations and ideas.” A product has many other dimensions besides its physical appearance. In fact, product like an onion with several layers and each of the layers contributes to the total product image. Philip Kotler is of the opinion that a product has three layers or dimensions which must be distinguished.
The dimensions are:
(a) Core product,
(b) Formal product, and
(c) Augmented product.
(a) Core Product:
It is the fundamental dimension of a product as it represents of bundle of benefits to its prospective buyer. The core product answers the question – “What is the buyer really buying?” For instance, a woman buying a washing machine is buying comfort and not a mere collection of drum, beater and nuts and bolts for their own sake; and a woman buying a lipstick is buying hope and not a set of chemical and physical attributes for their own sake. The basic job of a market is to sell the core benefits.
(b) Formal Product:
It is the larger packaging of a core product. It is what the target market recognises as the tangible offer. For instance, washing machines, lipsticks, motor cars, televisions, etc., having the following attributes – (i) features, (ii) style, (iii) a level of quality, (iv) a brand name, and (v) packaging. Services a have also got features which are generally intangible. Thus, services like auto repair, electricity supply, management consultancy, psychological counselling and medical advice are all products.
(c) Augmented Product:
It is a broader conception of the product. It represents the totality of benefits that a person may receive or experience in getting the formal product. The augmented product of a T.V. distributor is not only T.V., but also delivery, free installation, warranty, and service and maintenance. This dimension of the product is very important for a firm operating in a competitive market. The firm that develops the right augmented product will be able to attract more customers and service in the competitive market.
Definitions of Product – As Per Phillip Kotler, Stanton and W. Alderson
The product concept assumes that consumers will buy the product that offers them the highest quality, the best performance and the most features. A product orientation leads a company to try constantly to improve the quality of its product. A product is central to the marketing in any company/organization.
A product is not a mere object; it is not a mere assemblage of matter. It means something more than a physical commodity. People associate meanings with product; they drive satisfaction from them. Products gain an identity or a personality of their own in the hands of the marketing man. The commodity as such is but one component of the product personality. Consumers will buy only what suits them.
As consumers, we buy different kinds of products and services to satisfy our various needs. Consumer’s decision to buy an item is based not only on its tangible attributes but also a psychological attributes such as – services, brand, package, warranty, image etc.
According to Kotler, “A product is anything that can be offered in a market for attention, acquisition, use or consumption that might satisfy a want or a need”.
According to Stanton, “A product is a set of complex tangible and intangible attributes, including packaging, color, price, manufacturer’s prestige, retailer’s prestige and manufacturer’s and retailer’s services which buyer may accept as offering satisfaction of wants and needs.”
In the words of Alderson. W., “Product is a bundle of utilities consisting of various product features and accompanying services.”
Product is anything, which can be marketed in terms of physical goods, services, experiences, events, persons, places, parties, organisations, information, and ideas.
It may be emphasized, as brought out in these definitions, that customers buy a product not only for “what it is” but also for “what it means” to them. People buy things which agree with their self-image and self-concept. If a person perceives himself as an upper class professional, he will buy a product which will reinforce this self-concept.