Companies Market a Product Mix. A company’s product mix, or product portfolio, represents its total number of product lines. Companies with larger product mixes enjoy broader target markets and have more ways to meet customer needs.
What Is a Product Mix?
A product mix, also called a product assortment, represents the sum total of products that a company sells. This includes new products, existing products, and variations of products (like smaller sizes for kids). Each of these types of products counts toward the company’s complete product mix.
A company’s product mix impacts its distribution channels: the more types of products a company offers, the greater its distribution needs. A large product mix also influences a company’s marketing mix: the company may need a larger array of marketing channels to share its myriad product offerings with disparate customer bases.
Dimensions of a Product Mix
You can visualize a company’s product mix by breaking it down into four dimensions: length, width, depth, and consistency.
- Product mix width: Product width, also called product breadth, refers to the total number of product lines sold by a given company. For instance, a car company may offer multiple automobile product lines.
- Product mix length: Product mix length describes the total number of products that a company offers. If a business has five product lines and six products per line, it has a product length of thirty.
- Product mix depth: Depth speaks to the variety within a single product line. This can manifest in various sizes, flavors, and colors. For example, within a toothbrush line and within that product line, a company might offer different head sizes, bristle consistency, colors, and special features.
- Product mix consistency: A brand’s product consistency describes how similar brand offerings are to one another. The consistency of product lines at a book publisher, where all products are bound volumes of text, will be quite different from the consistency of product lines at a home goods store, where products can range from handheld trinkets to massive pieces of furniture.
Product Mix Marketing Strategies
When a company offers multiple product categories and sells at different price points, it must design a marketing strategy that reaches many different types of customers. Here are three marketing strategies that companies use to adequately advertise their product mix.
- Varied prices: Companies offer products at different price points, and these price points correspond with varying levels of quality. This pricing strategy helps a company stand out in highly competitive product markets. For example, a razor company may offer a number of variations on its core product, each with its own price point. It may offer single-use razors at a low price while selling more durable variants (like razors that can last for weeks or months) at a higher price point. These razors can both be successful products because the company steers them toward different target audiences. By offering two different product lines that perform the same core function, the razor company meets consumer demand from different sectors of the market.
- Varied product types: Businesses sell similar products at the same price in order to appeal to customer preferences. For example, a toothpaste company may offer spearmint toothpaste, cinnamon toothpaste, and fruit-flavored toothpaste for the very same price. All of these toothpaste varieties contain the same active ingredients, but the different flavors draw different customers. What’s more, by offering different flavors, the toothpaste company can cultivate a brand identity that communicates responsiveness to their customers’ tastes.
- Varied product lines: A company can expand its product mix by offering multiple products that have their own brand identity and marketing message. A beverage company might exemplify this strategy in its soft drink offerings. The company’s beverages each have distinct labels, brand image, and marketing campaigns. By investing in each of these product lines, the company can claim a greater market share in its core soft drink sector.
Examples of a Product Mix Strategy
A smart product mix strategy can help a company’s product lines penetrate new markets. Through a mix of product line pricing, differentiation, and marketing, a company can disrupt an existing market and usurp brand-name legacy products. The following examples demonstrate how a product mix strategy manifests in the real world of business.
- Televisions: When shopping for a new television, you know you need a TV that can fit in a particular space and meets or exceeds a particular image quality. A television company offers TVs in many sizes with many levels of screen resolution, all at different price points. If the TV company’s product mix overlaps with your needs as a customer, the company might win your business.
- Suits: You need a suit for an upcoming formal occasion, and you head to a department store that offers multiple brands. You notice a particular company sells many suit varieties at a wide array of price points. All of these product items have a similar function. Yet the sheer variety of products may help the brand appeal to a greater number of customers—including you.
- Food shopping: You survey the chip selection at your grocery store. One company seems to offer the greatest number of product lines—potato chips, corn chips, pretzels, and more. It also seems to offer the most flavor variants within a product line—barbecue, salt and vinegar, ranch, and beyond. Finally, it offers the greatest number of bag sizes to align with different price points and appetites. This company, with its robust product mix, has boosted its chances to win your business.