In Crossing the Chasm, Geoffrey Moore references Theodore Levitt’s concept of a “whole product.”
Moore summarizes this concept:
The concept is very straightforward: There is a gap between the marketing promise made to the customer — the compelling value proposition — and the ability of the shipped product to fulfill that promise. For the gap to be overcome, the product must be augmented by a variety of services and ancillary products to become the whole product.
What is your whole product?
Aside from just your core product, your customer may be expecting a number of different items to be “included” in the sale. These could be:
- technical support
- return policy
- user manual or instructions
- how-to guides
- starter kits
- necessary accessories
Your customers have high expectations when they purchase your product. They’ve believed your marketing and now visualize themselves in the dream world you’ve promised. When they get your product home, you better hope it lives up to the hype.
Your customer’s expectations are built from various different sources, including:
- past experience with your business
- consumer reviews
- product packaging
- word of mouth from friends and family
- product’s copy writing
All of these inputs get mixed together in the consumer’s brain and form their idea of the “whole product.” Will your product or service match that expectation? Understanding your customer will greatly improve your chances of delivering on their expectations.
How do you go above and beyond the simple product or service in completing the customer’s “whole product?”