The total product

In this chapter, we continue our exploration of the total product by discussing the product components – the goods, services, ideas, experiences, people, and place. The components that combine to make up a product. Like the product considerations and the product layers, identifying and analysing the product components is an important part of a product audit, a marketing audit, and the business planning process. Although it is often easy to determine the dominant product component, there are products where it is difficult to determine. Also sometimes, isolating the product components can be difficult as the outcome can span two or more components – that is why marketers have been referred to as a mixers of ingredients and where the outcome is referred to as the marketing mix.

Clearly product vary greatly, for example buying a bottle of water and buying a new home, therefore understanding the product considerations, the layers and the components allows marketing practitioners to mentally deconstruct and reconstruct the potential product. Once again we can see that the situational factors of the customer, the organisation, the market and the product [COMP] will influence how marketing practitioners design and develop strategies and tactics.


The total product [product components]

The total product concept-  is arranged into three chapters – product considerations, product layers, and product components. In this chapter we identify and discuss the six products components. The total product is a major theme of marketing and as you would now recognise it is the P in COMP. This information is critical to marketing practitioners at all levels it is particularly relevant for new product development and the re-positioning of existing products, however, it is also very important in when communicating quality and value in the product selection time-zone.

Previously in the total product module

Previously we have discussed product considerations – what marketing practitioners consider when designing, developing and deploying strategies and tactics, and product layers how marketing practitioners examine the core product outcomes, the expected product outcomes, and how a product may be augmented to deliver a unique product value proposition.

The 3rd Chapter in the total product

In this chapter we will look at the product components. In this chapter we will refer to the 561 of product components and this is worth considering as it often challenges the ‘default’ belief of products as physical tangible goods.


In this module we identify and discuss the six products components [561] and explain how, depending on the product, each product will have one dominant product component whilst the others will be referred to as non-dominant product components and how marketing practitioners employ the product components when designing, developing, and deploying strategies and tactics.

Where the components fit

In our exploded side view of the total product [sometimes we show it in a plan view] we can identify the 6 product components.

the 561 of product components

As marketing practitioners, when we consider product components we should be identify the product components, however, we soon begin to realise that there are always 5 product component, often 6 product components, and generally 1 dominant product component. Surprisingly, given that most people think of products as goods – if there is a product component that is missing it is the goods dominant component. However, all product components determine quality, value, & satisfaction & could be thought of as determinant components.

A mix of product components

There is a little overlapping with the product components. The product components are like the ingredients for a loaf of bread that when mixed and baked becomes one loaf rather than distinct ingredients.

Consider this example

In this photograph this lady recounted how she had been a passenger on this ship and had disembarked in Sydney the previous day, however, she decided to ‘wave goodbye’ to the ship as many of her new friends were still on the ship. When questioned she was able to identify all 6 product components – consider the example and try to identify the 6 product components and consider under what circumstances the dominant product may change. Consider if all of the components are needed for total product quality.

The product components [Havana Bar]

In this 60second video you will discover

  • that whilst the menu may describe the goods the other product components are only able to be assessed and evaluated post-purchase
  • how the other product components [place, ideas, experience, people, and service] all combine to create the total product.
  • how ‘the place’ can be ‘the set’ in the theatre of business and how place is an idea and an experience.

The Havana Bar in is a great example of home the owners have turned two old cottages into a Havanan experience [located in the hospitality section just off Cuba Street [Wellington, New Zealand]. As you would expect it is laid back unpretentious experience.

In this activity we identify the product components within the photographs, it is also worthwhile to try to identify the dominant product component – now identifying the dominant product component and identifying a hierarchy of importance is a little subjective [so don’t get frustrated]. The next thing is to identify how would marketing practitioners apply this knowledge when positioning or repositioning a product.

This activity is designed to highlight the diversity and prevalence of products where the service component is the dominant product component. [Click on the image to access the activity]

In this activity we bring the buyer decision process and the total product together. The activity explores tourism & New Zealand and the how one organisation – Kiwi Experience –  has selected, targeted, and positions their product for backpackers in New Zealand.

In this activity we take you on a London stopover [you are on your way to New York for a conference]. In this activity we ask you to consider all the total products that make up your day and suggest that you will naturally mentally bundle these into an aggregate product.

Exemplar: Kinetic Theatre

In this exemplar we look at an exception – The Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre. We do this to explore the product components & reinforce that a product can be dominant in components other than goods & services. [click on the image to access the activity]

Exemplar: Brand Singapore

In this exemplar we explore Singapore and some of their attractions and suggest that travellers to Singapore would mentally bundle all their total products into one aggregate product and then suggest that marketing practitioners managing aggregate prodct should manage aggregate satisfaction. [click the image to access this exemplar]

Exemplar: Bill's shed

In this exemplar we explore how a successful New Zealand trucking company has built a museum that is a tourist attraction and also provides a view to the history of the organisation. [click the image to access this exemplar] 

Exemplar: Place [Cinque Terre]

In this exemplar we look at how collaboration turned an declining community into one of the world’s most sought after destinations. [click the image to access this exemplar]

Exemplar: Place [Modena]

In this exemplar we look at how regional collaboration, a commitment to quality standards, and compliance with those standards has created a type of cheese – parmigiano-reggiano – that is regarded as the king of cheese. [click the image to access this exemplar]

Exemplar: Place [Albany]

In this exemplar we look at how Albany has bundled a number of natural features to create an aggregate product. [click the image to access this exemplar]

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