In marketing, a product is a tangible material available in the market to consumers. The development of a product and its life cycle spans across three levels, as devised by Levitt and Kotler, viz. Core Product, Actual Product, and Augmented product.
Core product defines the intangible aspect of a product related to the benefits derived.
Actual product as the name connotes, denotes the tangible aspect such as color, dimensions etc.
Augmented product forms the value added features of any product and refer to their utility to the consumers.
The emergence of social media and the rampant rise of mobile communications technology has provided new dimensions to the entire life-cycle of products, especially in the Mobile handset space. The rapid rise in number of smartphone (at present, there are more than 1.08 Billion smartphone users in the world) has opened vistas for mobile applications and their integration on the handsets. Gone are the days, when mobile handsets were sold to consumers based on their tangible aspects of an Actual product or the intangible aspects of core benefits like battery life, speaker volume etc. I remember, the first mobile handset I purchased was just based on my preferences for the types of polyphonic ringtones available.
Off late, the entire marketing strategy to push smartphone’s to the consumers is driven by augmented benefits such as availability of social networking apps, camera quality, video applications etc. The entire focus of value addition to the products of better services, warranty etc. has shifted to numerous innovative applications which allure the consumers. Companies like Nokia and many others have devised their communications strategies around applications like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. MicroMax (handset brand in India) has suffixed one of its products as, FB (for in-built Facebook application).
The rapid rise in the number of smartphone owners to more than 50 million in a developing country like India, has helped companies create consumer demand for innovative applications on handsets. Smartphone’s are an instant hit with the college goers and wall posts on Facebook and twitter updates have been major usage areas among the most used applications. As per the report published by Facebook in August 2010, more than 150 million users are accessing the application on their mobile phones. Low cost of GPRS enablement in developing country like India has also been a major cause for success of the mobile applications thereby enhancing the augmented benefits for Smartphone manufacturers.
The evolution of marketing and advertising strategies around mobile applications has created competition among the handset manufacturers to use operating platforms which support maximum number of mobile applications on a handset. Consumers now have newer ways to distinct themselves from peers using varied options available. The mobile revolution has just started and a lot more is yet to be seen with 3G and 4G services in the market.
This post was originally published in June 1, 2011 on http://www.alokr.blogspot.com
Image courtesy: Google
Alok Ranjan is a marketing specialist and management consultant based in Mumbai, India. He believes, brands are caught in a maze of technology and economic dynamics, caused by disruptive forces, which are changing the way consumers interact with brands. Alok advises brands to shape consumer centric strategy and assists to develop a roadmap for businesses.