Strategic Management: Formulation and Implementation

Product-mix Decisions

"Product mix (also called product assortment) is the set of all product lines and items that a particular seller offers for sale to buyers" (Philip Kotler and Ronald E. Turner)

A manufacture's product mix will have a certain width, length, depth, and consistency. The width of product mix refers to how many different products lines the company carriers. The length of product mix refers to the total number of items in its product mix. The depth of product mix refers to how many variants are offered of each product in the line. The consistency of the product mix refers to how closely related the various product lines are in end use, production requirements, distribution channels, or some other way.

These four dimensions of the product mix provide the handles for defining company's product strategy.

Product-line Decisions

"A product line is a group of products that are closely related because they function in a similar manner, are sold to the same customer groups, are marketed through the same types of outlets, or fall within given price ranges (Philip Kotler and Ronald E. Turner).

Each product line consists of product items, which should be evaluated. First, product-line managers must know the sales and profits of each item in the line. Second, they must know how their product line compares with competitors' product lines in the same markets. This provides information needed for making several product-line decisions.

One of the major issues facing product line managers is the optimal length of the product line. The issue of product-line length is influenced by company objectives. A manufacture can systematically enlarge the length of its product line in two ways: by stretching its line and by filling its line. Line stretching involves the question of whether a particular line should be extended downward, upward, or both ways. Line filling raises the question of whether additional items should be added within the present range of the line.

In some case, product length is adequate, but the line needs to be modernized. Line featuring raises the question of which items to feature in promoting the line. Line pruning raises the question of how to detect and remove weaker product items from the line.

Individual Product Decisions. Individual product decisions include the following product decisions: product attributes (quality, features, and design), branding, and packing and labelling.

Brand decisions can add great value to a product and is therefore an intrinsic aspect of product strategy. The key brand decisions are:

Branding Decisions
The first decision is whether the company should put a brand name on its product.
Brand-sponsor Decisions
The product may be launched as a manufacturer-owned brand, or it may be launched as a licensed name brand.
Family-brand Decisions
At least four brand-name strategies can be distinguished: individual brand names, a blanket family name for all products, company trade name combined with individual product names.
Brand-extension Decisions
A brand-extension strategy is any effort to extend a successful brand name to launch new or modified products or lines.
Multibrand Decisions. In a multibrand strategy, the seller develops two or more brands in the same product category.
Brand-repositioning Decisions
The company sometimes must decide whether to reposition any of the brands.