A product mix is all of the product lines that the company sells in the marketplace, and not those still in the development or testing stages.
For example, a company’s product mix may be constituted of cosmetics, toiletries, and medicine. Again, each line may have a subline, such as cosmetics may be broken down into a powder, lipstick, nail polish, rouge, etc. which means that each of the lines and sublines may have quite a good number of individual items.
A product is a solution to an existing problem. And all companies are basically a problem-solving vendor. However; companies that dominate the market, continue to grow, have great customer loyalty in the market; they don’t just solve make just one product to solve just one problem. For a company to run successfully they need to offer a whole range of products, at different levels of the price range, with different features for different customers. This is what product mix decision is all about.
Meaning of Product Mix Decisions
A product mix is the combination of all product lines and items that a particular seller offers for sale.
For example, toiletries break down into shampoo, soap, and so on. Each line and subline has many individual Principles of Marketing items.
Altogether, Avon’s product mix includes 1,300 items. In contrast, supermarket handles as many as 17,000 items; a typical K mart stocks 15,000 items; and General Electric manufacturers as many as 250,000 items.
Although some firms have only a single product, most of them produce several for the marketplace at one time. As a company increases the number of products, it offers for sale, the complexity of successfully marketing increases.
You should realize that not all products can be marketed in the same way. Automobiles, Clothing, and spices all require unique marketing strategies.
As the differences, lie marketing executives group products in certain categories. A company’s product mix is especially important to factor in developing a proper overall marketing strategy.
It can, for example, affect the way a company is organized.
A company having considerable depth to its lines and consistency to its mix is more likely to centralized its marketing effort than a company having little depth, great width, and little consistency.
4 Dimensions Product Mix Decisions – Concepts of Width, Depth, Length, and Consistency of a Product Mix
The product mix is the composite of products that an organization makes available to consumers. The product mix of a company then will have a certain depth, width, consistency, and length.
A company’s width of the product mix consists of different product lines carried by the company. The width of the product mix measures the number of product lines in the company.
The length refers to the total number of items in its product mix. For example, if a particular detergent powder comes in three sizes and two formulae, it has a depth of six.
Depth of the product mix, on the other hand, refers to the number of variants that are offered of each product line of the company. The depth of a product mix is measured by the number of products offered in each product line.
A product mix can be termed as consistent if there are similarities in terms of end-use, production requirements, distribution channels, etc.
Product Mix Decisions Example
The width of P&G’s product mix indicates the number of different product lines the company carries.
The table below a product mix width of six lines. The length of P&G’s product mix indicates the total number of items the company carries. The average length of a line at P&G can also be computed by dividing the total length (here 42) by the number of lines (here 6). The average P&G product line consists of 7 brands. The depth of P&G’s product mix indicates the number of versions offered of each product in the line.
Thus, if Crest comes in three sizes and two formulations (paste and gel), Crest has a depth of six.
|Product Mix Width and Product Line Length|
Shown for Selected Procter & Gamble Products
|Product Mix Lenght|
|Product Line Lenght||Detergents||Toothpaste||Bar Soap||Deodorants||Fruit Juices||Lotions|
|Ivory Snow||Gleem||Ivory||Secret||Citrus Hill||Wondra|
|Tide||Complete||Lava||Winter Hill||Oil of Olay|
|Oxydol||Safeguard||Speas Farm||Tropic Tan|
|Dash||Coast||Bain de Soleil|
|Cascade||Oil of Olay|
By counting the number of versions within each brand, the average depth of P&G’s product mix can also be calculated.
The consistency of the product mix indicates how closely related the various product lines are in end-use, production requirements, distribution channels, or in some other ways.
P&G’s product lines are consistent in so far as consumer products that go through the same distribution channels. The lines are less consistent insofar as they perform different functions for buyers.
How to Increase Business with Product Mix Decisions
Product mix dimensions guide a company in defining its product strategy. The company can enhance its business in 4 ways.
- Add New Product: it can add new product lines, which will widen its product mix. Thus, its new lines are built on the company’s goodwill in its other lines.
- Lengthen Current Product Line: The company can lengthen its current product lines to emerge as a more full-line company.
- Add More Versions of Product: The company can also add more product versions of each product, which will deepen its product mix.
- Increase or Decrease Product Line Consistency: and finally, a policy of more product line consistency – or less – depending on whether it wants to have a strong reputation in a single field or several fields.
Final Words: Product Mix Decisions is Important for Marketing Strategy
The results of these decisions should influence buyers’ perceptions of the product positively. These decisions should follow legal requirements. These decisions may be seen as micro-level decisions, although they are extremely important to the product’s acceptance in the marketplace.
On a macro level, marketers must make product mix decisions. A company’s strategic planners are responsible for product mix planning.
Assessment must be made of which product lines to grow, maintain, harvest, and divest based on the information supplied by the marketing personnel of the company.