Product is the most important variable in he marketing mix of a Firm. Since a firm is floated to manufacture and sell a product at a sale price which will yield a reasonable profit for the firm, ‘product’ is the center of all marketing polices and decisions. The marketing planning begins with the product and also ends upon the product. So, product decisions are the most important decisions.
(a) Meaning of Product
In general usage, a product is any object which has an identifiable physical existence. According to this concept, a product has some physical chemical properties. But in marketing, the meaning of ‘product’ is very wide.
According to Philips Kotler, “
A product is a bundle of physical service and symbolical particulars expected to yield satisfaction of benefits to the buyer.
Thus, a product incorporate facility, service or an instrument of satisfaction to the buyer who buys it.
In the words of W. Anderson, “A product is a bundle of utilities consisting of various product features and accompanying services.”
According to William J. Stanton, “A product is a complex of tangible and intangible attributes, including packing, color, price, manufacturer’s prestige and manufacturer’s and retailer’s services which the buyer may accept as offering satisfaction of wants or needs.”
This definition proves that if any physical property is changed, a new product is created. For example, ‘super surf’ was a new product though many detergent powders existed in the market. In the same manner, if a firm produces five brands of cigarettes, these are five products.
(b) Importance of a Product
If the first commandment in marketing is ‘known the customer’, the second is ‘know the product’. This statement proves the importance of ‘product’ in the marketing structure. As a matter of fact product is the soul of marketing activities. It is the central hub around which all marketing activities cluster. The whole marketing programming is done to sell some product and various decisions are taken to facilitate and expedite the sale of a product.
The different factors of marketing (such as pricing policies, channels distribution, advertising system, sales promotion, etc.) are affected to a large extent by the firm’s product policies . Product Planning is the starting marketing decisions. Until and unless sound product policies are developed point of all and the qualities, attributes size and level of product are improved, a firm cannot get success in marketing efforts.
Few firms, can avoid making product, decisions, as hazardous as the risk may be. Change is the most pervasive single feature of the twentieth century, and the firm must either adapt to rapidly changing market conditions and hopefully exploit them or be left at the mercy of competitions that have made more successful product decisions.
Thus, the product variable is both the most treacherous and the most promising instrument in the marketer’s bag of tools. Further, the nature and characteristics of a product effect of a large extent the marketing programme of the firm. Hence, it has been very aptly remarked that the second commandment in marketing is ‘know the product’. Therefore, ever marketing executive should know the products of his company very well. It is the very basis of the success of their marketing efforts.