Classes, categories, forms, brands
Product hierarchy is a term which defines the way a product is relative to other products in the same industry. It guides the path and process a consumer takes to determine the products we choose and we eventually purchase. To start off we look at a basic need that our ultimate choice serves. After we identify the need and determine which industry will satisfy it we are faced with decisions. Which class of products in that industry will deliver that type of product? The different classes all serve a need that is relative to each other but may not serve the specific need. This is where we identify which category of product we are looking for. Here we will find products that serve similar functions and may be marketed to the same customer groups. To further narrow down our choices we must then select a product form that may serve a specific function. This is where we find the exact product that fills the ultimate need. Finally we make our end choice by choosing the brand of that product that will purchase.
The actual number of levels in the hierarchy depends on how much more detailed or defined the need is. For example if someone wants soap and their only need is to clean something generic, they wouldn’t dig deeper into the types of soap they are looking for rather than looking for a specific type of cleaning agent for granite counter tops for example.
To further explain and give examples of how a product falls into a product hierarchy I will look at five different industries. 1. In the first instance the consumer’s end goal is to open a checking account and the basic need is security. Industry Finance |
Class | Savings | Diversified Investments | Insurance | Real Estate | Category | Bank/Credit Union and Online or in person | | | | Form | Checking, Savings, CD’s, Credit Cards,
References: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Industry_Classification_Standard http://www.citeman.com/1587-product-hierarchy-and-product-line-length.html https://getsatisfaction.com http://www.msci.com/ http://www.wdfi.org/wca/consumer_credit/credit_guides/DifferencesBanksCreditUnionsSavingsInstitut http://www.ions.htm http://www.prospects.ac.uk/industries_publishing_overview.htm