Understanding Product Management for Beginners | KnowledgeLab Episode 3

Understanding products from a marketing perspective is crucial for anyone involved in product management or marketing. In the KnowledgeLab Series third episode, renowned marketing author Philip Kotler’s insights are explored, outlining the three fundamental components that define a product in the eyes of the market. This distinction helps organizations and marketers to create high customer value through core, actual, and augmented products.

Unveiling the Core Product

The core product represents the fundamental benefit or value that a customer receives. It’s not the tangible item itself but the solution it provides. For instance, when purchasing a washing machine, the core product is the convenience and time saved from manual washing – it’s the promise of clean clothes with minimal effort.

The Actual Product – A Closer Look

Moving beyond the intangible aspects, the actual product includes the physical object and its features. This encompasses the design, brand, quality, and packaging. It’s the washing machine’s drum, control panel, and sleek lines – the tangible goods consumers can touch, feel, and see.

Augmented Product: The Additional Touch

To differentiate their offerings and enhance customer satisfaction, companies develop augmented products. These are services or benefits that come on top of the actual product, like warranties, customer service, and free delivery. For our washing machine example, this could mean a 2-year warranty or free installation, providing additional peace of mind and convenience for the buyer.

The Interplay of the Three Product Levels in Marketing

Crafting complete product experiences occurs at the intersection of the core, actual, and augmented levels. Marketers align levels to exceed customer expectations, blending features with benefits to craft a compelling package.

Creating Customer Value with a Layered Product Strategy

In product marketing, it’s not just about delivering a dependable item; it’s also about ensuring each product level speaks to the consumer’s needs and desires. Businesses can differentiate by offering more than just an item—they provide an experience and a promise.


Philip Kotler’s marketing wisdom, as dissected in the KnowledgeLab Series, is timelessly relevant. Core, actual, and augmented product principles guide marketers in crafting value-centric products.Core, actual, and augmented product principles guide marketers in crafting value-centric products. Whether you’re a seasoned leader or new to the field of product marketing, recognizing and enhancing the three levels of product is essential for driving success in today’s competitive marketplace.

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