Does Product Augmentation Matter?


product mix, product levels, promotion, brand, product augmentation

Teaching Notes

  • Overview: In this task, students will review a billboard ad, which promotes a benefit derived from product augmentation. Students will then discuss the role and value of augmenting a product. This exercise is designed to deepen your students’ understanding of the product levels model, with a focus on product augmentation in particular.
  • Teaching Level: introductory/intermediate – students need to be familiar with the product levels model. (Please refer to further information listed at the end of this activity, if required.)
  • Suggested Structure: This activity can be run with individual students, or in small groups of students, followed by an overall class discussion.
  • Approximate Timing: This task can be completed in around 10-15 minutes in groups, plus it requires a further 10-15 minutes for overall class discussion time.

Review the activity below or download the PDF student worksheet

Student Discussion Activity

Introduction to the Product Levels Model

Product augmentation is one of the three (sometimes five, depending upon the model being used) levels to describe a product.

At the center of the model is usually the core customer need or core value being offered to the customer – in other words, what is the customer truly buying?

Understanding of the core need/value is helpful for identifying indirect and substitute competitors.

At the next level of the product level model, is the actual product – how it has been physically constructed. This is how a consumer would describe the product or service.

And finally there is product augmentation. The word augmentation means “to add to” or “to make greater”. At this product level, additional benefits are provided to the consumer, which are separate to the physical design (actual product) of the product.

How Important is Product Augmentation? Does it matter?

Here is a promotional ad for the car brand Kia. As you can see it is a relatively straightforward ad, promoting its seven year warranty on all its new cars.

You should note that it does NOT discuss any features of the car, except for showing three models. However, the centerpiece message is clearly the warranty. This indicates that Kia believes that this is a key point of difference (differentiation) and will allow their car brand to win greater market share.

However, as we know, people have distinct car brand preferences and are buying a car – not a service/repair warranty?

Student Discussion Questions

  1. In which of the three levels of a product (core need/value, actual, augmentation) would this warranty be classified to?
  2. Why do you think the brand is using this to help differentiate their products, rather than features of the car itself?
  3. Do you think that this is an effective strategy in winning market share?
  4. Is there a likely target market that this sort of offer would appeal to?
  5. What recommendations would you have for Kia if you were their communications/promotional mix advisor?

For more information on these concepts

Please review this article on the three product levels at the Marketing Study Guide.

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