A product is closely associated with the need and level of satisfaction of the customers. It may be defined as an article introduced in the market, that seeks attention, desire for acquisition and image for use to get satisfaction of a want or need of a customer. Obviously, the hierarchy of products is based on their utility and intensity of customer satisfaction. In developing a useful product, a planner has to look upon its levels. They are core products, tangible products or augmented products.
A core product or service which meets the basic need or service may be defined as the product that provides a core benefit to a customer. Such a product may be a cloth, a food item or a drinking substance, irrespective of its taste, color, attraction, beauty consciousness, etc.
A core product is just a substance that satisfies the basic need of a user and does not allow him any comparison. Thus, a product planner has to make the core product tangible to introduce it in the competitive market allowing the customer to exercise his franchise rationally, considering comparative advantages.
The product augmentation is a set of approaches followed by a company in promoting its product through effective delivery and service, incentives to customers and dealers, warranty to seek customers’ confidence on product and maintaining a product-oriented relationship of customers with the company. This level of products largely draws ‘company-customer’ oriented relationship in the market. The product levels also determine the selling process to a large extent.
The core products play an important role in product planning while the tangible products initiate the sales management process. The augmented products drive the concept of extended sales mechanism for marketing expansion and product diversification.