What is a product? It is anything that can be offered to a market to satisfy a want or need Kotler (2003). But, if that’s all, then why does a customer prefer product A over product B, satisfying the same need. It might be because product A provides better features than product B. However, what if, product B matched its features to that of product A. It might be because product A provides longer guarantee than product B. However, what if, product B matched its guarantee to that of product A. In order to understand this hierarchical process, this case study aims to evaluate the Aberdeen airport product in context of the Kotler’s 5 product levels model.
THE CUSTOMER-VALUE HIERARCHY
A product’s market offering comprises of 5 levels, each of which adds more customer value and the 5 constitute a customer value hierarchy (Kotler 2003). 2.1
The first level of the customer-value hierarchy is the understanding of customers’ real buy – the core benefit (Kotler 2003). It is essentially a service whether the means is tangible or intangible. In the case of the Aberdeen airport, the core benefits are the primary services it offers to its various customers. The core benefit, for the airlines and passengers, is the ability to board and land from an airplane, while for the freight forwarders, it is the ability to load and unload the freights. For the local businesses and residents, the core benefit is the opportunity to connect quickly with the rest of the world and increased employment opportunities. 2.2
The second level of customer-value hierarchy is turning the core benefit into an actual product - the basic product (Kotler 2003). It is essentially the means, tangible or intangible, through which the core benefits are offered. The Aberdeen airport offers the core benefits through a wide range of infrastructure facilities (British Airports Authority 2010) like the air traffic control, runway and taxiway, aircraft aprons,...
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