It is vital for businesses to define their product & service offerings so all of their marketing materials are sending the same message and target markets can be identified.
What is a product/service?
Every business is offering some kind of product or service to their customers, but what exactly are products and services? A product is a tangible object that has been put out for consumption or possession, such as a drink bottle or a pen, whereas a service is an intangible item where the customer is being sold something that can’t be touched, such as accounting or coaching services.
Most products have an element of service in them, for example when purchasing a product like a pen, service is engaged when an employee sells it and hands it over to the customer. Basically, products are objects that are manufactured, stored, transported, advertised and then sold, and services are actions performed such as providing medical care or hairdressing.
Unlike products, services are consumed at the same time they are produced. There is very little standardisation when producing a service as they are usually different for each client and there is high buyer involvement in producing the service. Buyers will have conducted research and need to provide information, and often their physical presence for the service to be conducted.
So why do you need to define your product or service so thoroughly? It is important to have clarity in order to have a defined vision around what you do or sell. To succeed, a business needs to know exactly what they are selling to their customers. This will allow focus which helps businesses know how the product or service sells best and the location of the appropriate market.
Clarifying the product offering helps to define users, which will lead to defined target markets. From here, businesses can work out how to access their target market. This leads to more sales from a far more streamlined effort, rather than trying to sell in ways that might not even reach the target market.
It is all about having clear definitions and goals so the whole team can stay on track. After defining every aspect of the product or service, businesses will be able to define other parts of the marketing mix too such as competitors, users, unique selling point and target market. This will lead to successful marketing, focus and direction!
The first step to defining your product or service is to figure out which of the two it is. You will then need to clearly define the product/service itself so you have a clear vision of what you do and sell.
Begin by looking at what you currently have: what does your website consist of and do you use any tools and processes to deliver your product? Then, think about how your product or service solves an actual problem people have.
It helps to write out a full and detailed description of each product/service. Be sure to include the following:
- Define the core purpose: What does it need to address, what struggle does it alleviate and what job does it do?
- Define the user base: Who will be the primary users?
- Define the user needs: What does the user need, what do they want and what are their struggles?
- Define the product’s functions: What should it do? Does it address a need, want or struggle and who will it service?
- Define the criteria for product success: What are the indicators of success and can you measure them? Can you afford them? Does it align with the purpose and needs?
- Define the product’s foundational elements: When will the product be needed, what is the likely reach and where are the users likely to be based?
This will help you think about what the product looks like, what it includes and who will need it so you can make decisions on how to market it!