A product line refers to a number of products that are related and developed by the same manufacturer. Product lines are not to be confused with product bundling, which combines various items into one type of product. Items within a product line generally share the same basic theme, and with the help of a successful marketing plan these products can be entirely effective.
Frequently, a product line includes different products that are offered to the public at varying price points. This way, a manufacturer or company can ensure that all products within a line will be purchased by all kinds of people. Product line extension refers to any additional products that may be added to a current product line.
Most of the time, product extensions are introduced to the public in order to ward off competitors. By creating products that match other, competitive products, manufacturers are able to keep customers interested in a product that they are familiar with. Since most people purchase brands that they know, these same consumers are more likely to purchase a new product from a brand that they are comfortable with rather than purchase a product from an unknown brand.
Marketers create target markets based upon age groups, geographical locations, and ethnicity. Target markets refer to a group, or groups, of people that are likely to purchase one product. Thus, even though products might be related, some products may look different, smell different, and even appear unrelated in order to appeal to different types of people.
For example, many air freshener manufacturers offer a variety of products ranging from flameless candles, targeted to parents with young children; to simple aerosol air fresheners, targeted to consumers who don't want to spend a lot of money on an air freshener. While these products are related, they are vastly different.
Clearly, a great deal of strategy goes into marketing various products. Marketers must be aware of competition at all times in order to advise manufacturers on new products that should be added to an existing product line. In addition, a marketing agency should be aware of those products that sell, and those that remain unpopular.
Through the collection of statistical data, marketers can effectively determine what products should be kept within a product line, and what products should be phased out. Pricing is used to create a large barrier between different products, and higher-priced products are usually justified based upon certain ingredients.