A product is a tangible good or the intangible service that the enterprise offers to its customers in order to satisfy their needs and to produce their expected results. Products are often identified with their brand names to distinguish them from other products in the market. Some products have built up so much loyalty to the point that their brand names have become their best selling proposition.
There are four general types of products that are marketed by enterprises:
- Breakthrough products
- Differentiated products
- Copycat products
- Niche products
Breakthrough products offer completely new performance benefits. They may double the performance at half the cost. They may be much more convenient and easy to use. They may cater to a unique set of customer needs that have not yet been tapped. They may create new demand. Marketing breakthrough products need a higher level of customer education and orientation.
Common examples of breakthrough products are borne out of the biotechnology field particularly in terms of coming up with new vaccines to protect people from certain viruses.
Differentiated products try to claim a new space in the mind of the customer different from the spaces occupied by existing products. The performance benefits may be close to existing products but there would be additional benefits on special aspects of the product.
There are many different eyeglasses available in the market today but Transitions® lenses was able to differentiate itself from the rest because the lenses they use adapt to changing light. With this feature, the wearer gets additional protection against ultraviolet rays, glare, and eye fatigue. Transitions® lenses become very clear while indoors and become darker outside, depending on the sunlight and other sources of light and glare. It is actually a pair of eyeglasses and sunglasses rolled into one.
Copycat products will not make much impression on the consumer’s mind. The marketer should make up for this lack of mental space by offering more physical space in the shelves, lower prices, easier access, promotional freebies, and the like. Aggressive advertising may add to market demand but at a greater cost than the leading brands.
A classic Philippine example of a copycat product is the Beer na Beer brand of Asia Brewery pitted against San Miguel Pale Pilsen. Both have amber-colored bottles with similarly styled white-colored font printed outside the bottle. No wonder after Beer no Beer came out of the market, San Miguel filed a lawsuit against Asia Brewery for trademark infringement. In this case, San Miguel prevailed.
Niche products do not intend to compete directly with the giants. They are products with lower reach, lower visibility, lower prices, and lower top of mind. They are content to play minor roles in specific and smaller market segments.
Have you ever heard of the Dirty Rotten Flowers delivery service in the United States? In contrast to romantics wanting to send the best and most beautiful flowers to their loved ones, this company caters to the wronged ones or those who want to seek revenge.