Product - Your number one P
For your product - your number one P in your marketing mix, to be successful there are two key things it needs to deliver:
- Satisfy a specific need of your customer, and
- It has to deliver on it’s (your) promise
I have discussed this many times – to meet the key factor of satisfying a specific need you need to understand who your customer is - so we won’t go into that again. You can read more here if you are interested.
So, lets look at what a product is – ie the definition.
Your product can be a good or a service. If it’s a good, that’s something tangible, like shoes (beautiful, wonderful, fabulous shoes). If your product is a service, then that’s something intangible, like marketing advice, or an insurance policy.
Either way, your product costs something to produce, so you need to sell it to your customers at a price that they see value in purchasing from you and that also provides you with a profit. We’ll cover this in more detail when we look at Price (number two P in your marketing mix).
Whatever your product is, it's important to understand the benefits your product delivers to your customers.
Keeping it simple
To keep it simple, I suggest focusing on one key benefit – that being main benefit your product delivers. Focus on your customers why – why will they buy from you. What is important to them that your product is delivering?
For example, starfish marketing makes a difference by saving our client's time. They don’t have to worry about finding time for their marketing activities, or that their marketing will fall to the bottom of a long to-do list that business owners, wearing many hats, usually have.
When you are clear about the benefits your product will offer you can then decide on some other factors of your product, such as:
- Quality – are your customers willing to pay more for high quality or are they price sensitive and are prepared to accept lower quality
- Features – what are the features of your product
- Branding – is your product reflective of your brand position, because you don't want to confuse people
Developing your product
Whether you are developing a new product, or revising an existing product, there is a process to follow.
- Strategy development
- Generation of ideas
- Screening and evaluation
- Business analysis
- Product development
- Market testing
When you put it into the above seven steps it can appear quite simple. In reality, however, product development is usually much more complicated, with many businesses going back and forth between the different steps.
Focus on your customers
At the end of the day, the most important thing is to focus on your customer needs as your key driver.
If you know:
- who your customer is
- what is important to them (and why), and
- you develop (and update) your product to meet and successfully deliver those needs
then your product, whether it is a good or a service, should be a hit.