Products are the consumer offering. They are the reason that the customer is making a value exchange. Products and services differ but are inextricably linked through experiences. Consumer products are classified in four ways based on consumer behavior, price, and distribution. Meanwhile, business and industrial products are classified by materials, parts, capital items, and supplies/services.
Products are often not the only offering for a company. Rather, products are sold in product lines and mixes to maximize consumer choice and profitability. Companies may stretch or fill their product lines to appeal to new customers or create new options for existing offerings. A product lives through a product life cycle, including introduction, growth, maturity, and decline, all of which consider revenue and growth. Marketing decisions are often made based on where a product is in the product life cycle. Companies may use levers such as product innovation, pricing, and promotion to encourage purchase.
Ultimately, products become part of a brand. A brand is a feeling that is evoked and a reason that consumers might make a purchase. Brand equity is an intangible asset with tangible value for a company, so it must be protected. Brands position themselves in consumers’ minds to capture brand equity. Developing a brand can occur through extension or creating a new offering. Consumers have varying degrees of brand loyalty, which can be measured through preference, lift, and engagement.
Packages are more than containers for products, they are also an extension of the brand. They are useful in brand identity, differentiation, and customer experience. Packaging and labeling also serve functional benefits such as storage, convenience, protection, safety, usability, and legality. Brands should be mindful that packaging has an environmental impact. Brands are continually innovating their packaging designs to meet sustainability expectations.