Kotler Product Level

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A product has different layers like an onion and each of the layers contributes to the make of the product. Every marketer should analyse the product at different levels. The identified levels are as explained below.

5 Product Levels

These levels are discussed below:

Core Layer

The core layer of the product explains the reasons for which the customer is making the purchase. This layer explains the reason ‘why’ of buying the product.

Example: The convenience of communicating in less duration and cost.

Basic Product Layer

At the second layer, the consumer looks at the basic utilities, like physical features, tangible elements of the product.

Example: A mobile phone contains features of incoming, outgoing calls and also of messaging and FM radio.

Expected Product Layer

The expected layer is a set of attributes and conditions buyers normally expect out of the product. Whereas the basic product is the ‘given thing’ in the product, in expected level, consumers use their anticipations and utility expectations for defining the product.

Example: A consumer expects the mobile phone to have a camera, design, internet connectivity and instant messaging features etc.

Augmented Product Layer

The augmented part of the product is the associated services and cues, which help the product to deliver beyond the expectation level of the consumer.

Brand positioning and competition starts at farm level when all the products in a market look similar. In developing nations, the competition originates at the level of expected product.

Example: A low budget mobile phone may also have a feature of front camera and wireless FM for listeners, also the retailer may provide free Bluetooth device with the purchase of the handset.

Potential Product Layer

The last layer is the potential layer of the product where all the possible augmentations and transformations the offer may undergo in the future. Here the marketer is always on a constant search for new methods and processes to differentiate the offer on the basis of product features and services that will satisfy the customer and create the desired differentiation.

The levels of the products are used to explain the concept of value hierarchy in which the product manager can plan the level at which to propose the basic product and the level at which differentiation is to be made.

Example: If a mobile phone comes along with the features which are beyond the imagination of consumers. For say, a mobile have to have a screen on both sides or mobile phone providing 3D movie experience with its superlative imaging quality.


  • V. S. Ramaswamy, S. Namakumari; 2009; Marketing Management; MacMillan Publishers Pvt Ltd.
  • Kotler, Keller, Koshy, Jha; 2009; 13th Edition; Marketing Management: A South Asian Perspective.

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