1. Core Benefit: It is the basic need of the consumer, like listening to the FM radio for music/news.
2. Generic Product: It is an assembly created for meeting the core need only, i.e. an assembly of a transistor, an antenna, speaker and the basics to create a radio.
3. Expected Product: it is what the customer expects out of the product when he goes to buy one. So a customer looking to buy a FM radio would want the radio in a proper (probably nice-looking) insulating frame/body where there’s easy mechanism provided to switch stations and change volume, and the sound is clear.
4. Augmented Product: it is what the company provides as a result of competition in that line of products. For example if there’s another company manufacturing and selling FM radios, my company would put in additional features like a CD player, a warranty, a guarantee, an after-sale service, a product manual etc.
5. Potential Product: it is what the product can be made after improvements in the future. Due to competition, the augmented product soon becomes the expected product, i.e. the consumer expects a new radio to always come with a manual and warranty because all the sellers are providing it. So in the future if I want my radio to capture the market over my competitors, is there something I can do to modify the product for the same? Like I may provide a DVD player and LCD screen as well in a more compact body.
For the company to successfully market the product, it is important to understand the expected product. When a new technology is introduced in the market, the necessity of the consumer isn’t enough to make the product a success, it needs to satisfy the consumer i.e. meet or exceed the current consumer expectations.
For example, Starbucks coffee just don’t meet the consumers’ need for coffee, it meets and exceeds expectations.