Product Features and Psychological Benefits
For customers psychological benefits represent certain benefits they perceive to receive when using the product though these may be difficult to measure and may vary by customer. These benefits address needs such as status within a group, risk reduction, sense of independence, and happiness. Such benefits are developed through promotional efforts that target customer’s internal makeup (see discussion in Part 4: Consumer Buying Behavior).
In addition to determining the type of features to include in a product, the marketer faces several other decisions related to features:
- Quantity & Quality vs. Cost - For the marketers an important decision focuses on the quantity and quality of features to include in a product. In most cases the more features included or the higher the quality level for a particular feature, the more expensive the product is to produce and market.
- Is More Better? – Even if added cost is not a major concern, the marketer must determine if more features help or hurt the target market’s perception of the product. A product with too many features could be viewed as too difficult to use. This was often the case when video cassette recorders (VCR) were the principle device for taping television programs and watching rented movies. Many of the higher-level features introduced in the 1990s as the product matured, such as advanced television recording, proved too difficult for the average consumer to master.
- Who Should Choose the Features? – Historically marketers determined what features to include in a product. However, as we discussed in the Targeting Markets Tutorial, technology, and especially the Internet, offer customers the opportunity to choose their own features to custom build a product. For instance, companies offering website hosting services allow website owners to choose from a list of service options that best suits their needs. Also, for traditional products, such as clothing, companies allow customers to stylize their purchases with logos and other personalized options.