Depending on the market and product characteristics, the competition takes place at one of the product levels.
Six levels of product hierarchy with relation to certain other products are described and few possible classifications of the products listed. A notion of product mix, or assortment, is introduced and defined as a combination of all the products offered by a particular market player to its customers. It is characterized by the width, length, and consistency. Product line decisions are important for the product strategy and should be based on product-line and market analysis, considering optimal product-line length and issues of modernization, featuring and pruning.
The second part of the chapter is devoted to the brand and brand decisions. Brand is a complex symbol; it identifies certain products and distinguishes them from the competition in the mind of the customer and in the marketplace. Building brand identity is extremely important as it allows the company to increase the differentiation of its products and receive price premiums. Building brand identity requires decisions on the brand's name, logo, colors, tagline, and symbol. Brand strategy decision includes choice between functional, image and experiential brand, and brand development and repositioning. Packaging and labeling are also important parts of the overall product strategy.
This chapter is devoted to the marketing and management of services. ...
Services can be classified as equipment-based or people-based; requiring client's presence or not; targeting personal or business need; based on the type of the service provider.
Four main characteristics of the services are intangibility, inseparability, variability, and perishability. They influence significantly the development and implementation of the marketing strategies for the service firms and pose certain challenges.
Marketing strategy elements for the services, besides traditional four Ps, include also people, physical evidence and process. Three main tasks the marketing of services should fulfill are differentiation of the offer from the competition, effective management of the service quality, and improving the employees' productivity.
For goods-producing companies marketing of services is important while they sell not only the physical products but the product support services as well. The company should manage its product's life-cycle cost, and meet or exceed the customers' expectations. The offered services may be of several types: facilitating services (e.g. installation, financing, training), value-augmenting services (e.g. product warranties, trade-in allowances), postsale services (maintenance, repair etc.). The recent trends in the product support service include "service unbundling", accumulation of the maintenance services and outsourcing them to the third parties, increasing role of call centers and customer service representatives, and extended warranties.
Developing price strategies and programs
This chapter looks in deep into price element of the marketing mix. It is of high importance