One of the important elements of marketing mix is Product. Any firm is known by the product it is offering. The other elements of marketing mix are based on it. So it is very important that the firm must have a sound product policy. It is a competitive tool in the hands of the marketer. It involves four types of product policy decisions. These are:
I) Individual product decision:-
a) Product attribute: it consists of the quality, feature, style and design of the product. Quality of the product assures the customer that the manufacturer is giving the customer a good quality product. Feature helps the consumer in differentiating the product from other products in the market. Style and design of the product helps in bringing the attention of the customers towards the product.
b) Product branding: the product must have its own unique brand name. Only then the customer will be able to differentiate the product from the other products. Brand name also helps the marketers in promoting the product and making consumer brand conscious.
c) Product packaging: packaging means the outer cover which contains the product. Like a tooth paste has two covers first in shape of tube and another cardboard cover put the tube in it. It is generally said that Packaging act as a silent salesman because product packaging helps the customer to get the knowledge about the product quality, quantity, weight, price etc.
d) Product labeling: labeling on the product is very essential as it gives the consumer information regarding the manufacturer’s name, place, date of manufacturing, expiry date, calories, carbohydrates, nutritional value etc.
e) Product support services:- these are the services which are provided to the customer after selling the product to the customer like after sale services, installation etc.
II) Product line decision:-
product line means group of product which are closely related to each other. In product line decision the marketer makes the decision regarding the product line length, means the number of products in the product line. The product line may be short which means the marketer can increase the profit by adding a new product or there may be long product line. There are two ways of adding the product.
a) Product line stretching: it means adding a new product by stretching the product line by upward, downward or both ways.
b) Product line filling: it means when the company add a new product within existing range of products.
III) Product mix decision:-
it means total products produced and sold by the company. Like amul produces, milk, milk powder, ghee, butter, cheese spread etc. product mix includes:
a) Product mix width: it means how many products the company is offering. Like tea, butter, cheese etc.
b) Product mix length: it means no. of items in each product line. Like 5 kind of shampoo, 7 kind of washing powder etc.
c) Product depth: it refers to different items in each product line. Like a company is offering different kind of soap eg. X, y, z. etc.
d) Product consistency: refers to how closely related the various products in end use.
IV) Product positioning decision:-
it the way by which the marketer communicate the information of the product to the prospective buyer. It can be done on the bases of price or size or usage of the product.
These are the 4 types of product policy decision.