Levels of Product: To prepare and offer a product, marketer needs to consider five levels of a product. Each level adds more customer value. These levels are as follows:
• Core benefit
• Basic product
• Expected product
• Augmented product
• Potential product
They are summarized in below:
1. Core benefit: The most basic/primary level is the core customer value, which addresses the question what is the buyer really buying? By answering the question what benefit consumer is really buying and what benefit he will get, it is expressed the core product or benefit. It is the main objective of purchasing a product. When designing products, marketers must first define the core, problem-solving benefits or services that consumers seek.
Example: when a customer purchases a seat in a hotel he or she purchases “rest and sleep” as a hotel guest. Similarly a woman buying lipstick buys more than lipcolor. Charles Revson of Revlon saw this early: “In the factory, we make cosmetics; in the store, we sell hope.”
And people who buy a BlackBerry smartphone are buying more than a cell phone, e-mail device, or personal organizer. They are buying freedom and on-the-go connectivity to people and resources. The purchaser of a drill is buying holes.
2. Basic product: At the second level, product planners must turn the core benefit into an actual product. They need to develop product and service features, design, a quality level, a brand name, and packaging.
For example: The hotel room will be treated as actual products. Actual product (thus a hotel room) includes a bed, bathroom, towels, desk, closet, working lamp etc.
The BlackBerry is treated as an actual product. It includes its name, parts, styling, features, packaging, and other attributes have all been combined carefully to deliver the core customer value of staying connected.
So marketers need to design the actual product in a way that will help to fulfill the core needs of the customer.
3. Expected product: At the third level, the marketer prepares an expected product. It is a set of attributes and conditions that buyers normally expect when they purchase this product.
Example: Such as Hotel guest expect a clean bed, fresh towels, working lamps and a relative degree of quiet.
When someone purchases a blackberry he or she normally expects good performance of the products, clear voice, good networking, total solution of connectivity, as well as different services from dealers.
4. Augmented product: At the fourth levels, the marketer prepares an augmented product that exceeds customer expectations. Superior offerings that are not offering by competitors can be treated as augmented products.
Example: A hotel can include a remote control television set, fresh floors, rapid check in, express checkout and fine dining and room service.
In case of blackberry: warranty, guaranty, toll free number, free servicing etc.
The BlackBerry solution offers more than just a communications device. It provides consumers with a complete solution to mobile connectivity problems. Thus, when consumers buy a BlackBerry, the company and its dealers also might give buyers a warranty on parts and workmanship, instructions on how to use the device, quick repair services when needed, and a toll-free telephone number and Web site to use if they have problems or questions.
5. Potential product: At the fifth level stands the potential product which encompasses all the possible augmentations and transformations the product might go in the future. Here is where companies search for new ways to satisfy customers and distinguish their offers.
Example: The hotel marketer may arrange WIFI connection in the surrounding of his hotel.
Blackberry may include the feature like that the pen drive may be used in the blackberry.