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THE PRODUCT
The product is the most important of all the elements in a company's marketing mix. it is regarded as the element that attracts customers to the company and the principal thing it offers to customers. A company will become nothing without this element called product.

A product can be defined as anything that can be- offered to costumers, (actual and potential) to arrest its attention for their acquisition use, consumption and satisfaction of needs and wants in tangible and intangible form. 


The ability to satisfy needs and wants of a customer. Product can be physical object like iron, food item or furniture and so on. It could also be services like haircut or transport, or places like Beach, Hawaii, or personalities like Michael Jackson, Mandela, on organization like Red Cross, arsenal, or ideas like family planning, democracy and driving Changes in such features as colour, style, size, packaging and brand names can be used to differentiate products.

THE DIMENSIONS OF A PRODUCT


A product is more than its physical dimension. The satisfaction to be derived form it (whether a good or service) has four distinct constitutions dimension aspects, parts or senses. These are the core, tangible/formal and argument

1. THE CORE/GENERIC PRODUCT

This is the core or basic benefits or service that a particular product gives. It is the most fundamental aspects of the goods that a customer buys. It is things that a customer’s seeks in a purchase of the product concerned. It represents the solution to the buyer’s problem. This means that it answers the question why a customer buys a particular product

2. THE TANGIBLE PRODUCT

This stands as the product as packed, branded, shaped, or coloured. It is the physical entity of a product that separate it forms others in the market. The tangible product embodies or gives expression to the core product in other to differentiate if from competing brands in the market it embraces such things as labeling, style, colour, weight, size, design and other features

3. THE ARGUMENT/EXTENDED PRODUCT

These are the aspect of a product that has to do with the value or benefits which are not essential part of the product but are added on order to attract more patronage and create repeat purchase or brand loyalty. They basically related to services, credit facilities, warranty and guarantee


DIMENSIONS OF PRODUCT MIX

The product mix is a company is the total range of products and customers services which it has to offer its target market and market segment it services. It comprises the assortment of the total product lines and items offered by a particular company to its customers. It is with its mix that a company hopes to fully satisfy the needs and wants of its costumers competitively. The product mix of a particular company has dimension of width, depth, and consistency

The width of the product mix comprises the number of the different lines of ranges of products carried by the company. The product line must be closely related and must be produced within the company. For examples uinlever produces margarine (butter) lipton tea, fruit juice, toothpaste, detergent and so on

The depth of the product mix of a company relates to the average number of items in each of its products line. For example, unilever produces fruit juice, in this line, it offers orange, mango, lime, black currant and pineapple fruit juice or brands in its tree top brand of fruits juice line

The product mix consistency means the extent to which the products lines offers by the company are related in their end uses, manufacturing and distribution. This means that the product lines must be produced in the same factory, marketed together, distributed along the same channel together and purchase together. The products must be closely related and they serve the same market or segment


NEW PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT

This is an aspect of product planning that focuses on bringing new products to the market. A new products is done after a careful study of what is happening in its marketing environment. A product is developed to meet a specific unfulfilled need of the society in which a company operates


THE NEW PRODUCT DEVELOPMET PROCESS

The creation of a new product within an organization involves a planning process commonly referred to by marketing specialist as a new product development process or new product evolutionary cycle. This cycle or process consists of the following six stages or phases:

(1) Idea Generation

(2) Idea Screening
(3) Business Analysis 
(4) Technical Development 
(5) Marketing Testing 
(6) Commercialization


1. IDEA GENERATION: idea are the eggs from which successful products are hatched. This is the starting point of new product development. It usually comes from the researchers the company had constructed either internally or externally. New product ideas can be in the areas of modification on existing products or the creation of a new products so that it can satisfy an existing unfilled need

2. CREENING/EVALUATION OF IDEAS: this involves the evaluation of idea in order to reduce them to a manageable proportion for further study or processing. First of all, the obviously impracticable ideas are removed. Later, a more rigorous evaluation is done in order to identify the most noble of the ideas for onward transmission to the stage while the less noble or less serious ones are dropped

3. BUSINESS ANALYSIS

Here, the ideas that survive the screening stage are expanded into concrete business proposal that can generate revenue and the selection of the most attractive ones among them for development into actual product. This means the attractive ones among them for development into actual product. This means the evaluation of the feasibility (possibility) and viability (profitability) of the product

4. TECHNICAL DEVELOPMENT: the ideas that survive the business analysis stage are here converted into physical products. This is first done by changing them into product concepts are ideas that have dimensions features and benefits that can enable to satisfy specific needs. Later, these are converted into physical products attribute

5. TEST-MARKETING: Test marketing essentially involves the commercial testing of n new product in a limited geographical area so an to see how customers would react to tin performance In usage, price, promotion distribution. Because of this, only a small quantity of the product is produced and the marketing efforts that can help to boost patronage are kept minimal It is here that the management decide to on to commercialized the product

6. COMMERCIALIZATION: this is the stage of planning and implementation of full scale production and marketing programmers for a new product. It is usually flagged off by the official launching of the product once the product is born and introduced to the market, the company ceases to be in full control of its fate.


PRODUCT POLICY

The product policy of a firm consists of all the decisions which the firm takes in connection with the marketing of its products. The decisions regarding which products to offer to the market, how many of them, and how to procure and- how to market them, all fall within the scope of the product policy of an organization The product of a firm, therefore, comprises decisions with regard to:

1. What to market

2. Whether to market one or more products

3. Whether to make or buy the product(s)

4. New product developments

5. Product modifications

6. Product elimination

7. Branding and packaging

8. Product pricing etc.

The company’s policy should be reviewed from time to time to adapt to the organization changing environment.

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