The Meaning of A Product

A necessary Preliminary step in analyzing local consumers is to question what the products or service "means" to them. What does the product or service do for the buyers? How does it fit into the consumption and use pattern of the buyer? What are the core benefit? 

This is not the question of lifestyle or preferences of the customer but rather a question of what the product represent generically, What the core benefit is. And the core benefit often differs between local markets. 

Some example will clarify this. While a core benefit of an automobile may be transportation in some countries, especially large ones with a well- develop road network such as United States, the auto is often a status symbol in less-developed countries. While disposable diapers may be bought for convenience in some countries, they are used for health reasons elsewhere. A credit card may offer more security and convenience than cash in some countries,While in others it offers a change for parents to include their teenage offspring.

While these benefits are intermingled in most markets, and some segments of a local market will emphasize some over the others, the identification of a different core benefit is a necessary first step in analyzing local customers. Misunderstanding what is the core benefits of a products are in a local market is sometimes a fatal mistake.

Because the product and service  has already been marketed at home and perhaps elsewhere, most global marketers- and their headquarters counterparts assume the core benefits of the offerings are well known, or indeed that they know what they are. But core benefits are not independent of the local environment. The generic function of a product depends more on the local environment than on innate individual preferences.

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