This chapter introduces the factors surrounding the product offering itself. The product as a bundle of benefits, rather than a bundle of attributes, is covered, and the differences and similarities between physical products and services are also explored. The chapter begins by defining what a product is, then looks at the individual decisions that make up product management. The section on branding looks at the decision whether to brand or not, and what the possible advantages of branding are: branding strategies are discussed in some detail, including the problems of international branding, and repositioning is touched on. The section on packaging concentrates on the marketing implications of packaging – labelling, differentiation, shelf life and visual impact. Product portfolio decisions and international product decisions are the final areas covered.
Class exercise: Consider a hamburger from McDonald’s, a hamburger from Hard Rock, a hamburger from Tesco, and a hamburger made at home from minced beef. What differences are there in the benefits obtained from each? What is the difference in the price of each? What accounts for the differences? Which is best value for money? How do you judge that? Students should be able to discern that the level of service input is what makes the difference between each type of hamburger. Their perception of value for money may be conditioned towards regarding the cheapest as being the best value – in which case the question arises as to why they often buy the more expensive option, which is either McDonald’s or Hard Rock.
Essay title: ‘Maintaining quality in services’. Students should be able to outline some of the difficulties involved in maintaining quality in services markets, particularly in restaurants and in personal services such as hairdressing.
Practical project: Visit your local supermarket and examine the packaging of the confectionery. What