I saw this tweet on the internet yesterday:
And, it got me thinking about what a product really is because Patrick’s tweet and the conversation he is talking about is really one about the entirety of the experience and the whole of the product.
Let me describe for y’all how I talk about product with my clients:
We always begin with the three layers of the product:
The actual product
The core benefit
The actual product is straight forward.
That’s the item you actually get: a ticket, a shirt, a new laptop, whatever.
It includes a service as well like copy for your site, marketing services, advice.
That’s the most base level.
If you don’t move past here, commodity time!
The core benefit is interesting because it is how your customers are better off from working with you.
Go to www.davewakeman.com and you’ll see that folks are more profitable, more strategic, and more focused when I’ve done my job.
In a ticket, I’ve had conversations where the ticket was the door to a new relationship, a new business deal, or reconnecting with friends.
If you buy a new laptop, you aren’t just getting the laptop, you are getting access to a faster, better experience. You might be saving time because the laptop is faster. You might have a better screen which makes your eyes less tired.
We can go on, but I think you get the point.
Which is that the core value of the product isn’t the product itself but how your customer is improved.
Finally, we hit on the augmented product.
This is everything.
In my definition of marketing, I talk about how every action you take or don’t take is marketing.
That’s where the augmented product idea comes together.
As an example, think about going to a hotel like the Four Seasons. The room is the actual product. The core benefit might be that you know you can get a good night’s sleep and feel comfortable when you are away from home. The augmented product is a whole lot more than that.
I’ll use a few of the ways that the augmented product plays out at the Four Seasons in Miami on Brickell.
The way you enter the building under the overhang and are welcomed by the valets and bag handlers, that’s the augmented product.
The smell when you walk into the downstairs lobby, augmented product. (It is also a significant brand code. We asked about it the last time we were there.)
The greeting at the desk, augmented product.
The way that they’d send a present home for our son even if he isn’t with us, the augmented product.
The pool. The pool bar. The breakfast.
All, the augmented product. All, touchpoints that matter. And, all that adds to the perception of value of your product.
I bring all of this up because there is a lot of times when we discuss issues and we run right to the tactical level. And, your product is a tactical piece of delivering on your strategy.
But by looking at the whole of any system, you see that things are more complex than you might initially imagine.
Like Patrick points out, the real or correct answer is usually a little more complicated.
Let me know if this makes sense.