In a company's marketing efforts, both the product lines and the mix that it uses are important in the long term. While product mix and product lines are similar, they are not the same thing, and each can have a drastic impact on the success of a company. A product mix is potentially comprised of several product lines.
A product line is a group of products that are closely related and are promoted together. For example, when a company creates a group of products that deal with hygiene, such as shaving cream, soap and shampoo, this is known as a product line. The line of products typically shares the same logo, brand and color scheme. This way, customers can easily identify other products within the same group. The products are not exactly the same, but they typically share some of the same characteristics.
The product mix of a company involves all of the products that a company has for sale. The product mix could include several lines of products or individual products that do not fall into a line. For example, if a company owns a line of hygiene products and also owns a line of house cleaning products, all of those products together would constitute the product mix for the company. Each line would combine with the other to come up with the total mix.
Many companies focus on product mix because it helps them diversify their offerings. Instead of focusing in on a particular type of product, a company may come up with a wide range of products to offer. This way, even if one group of products does not sell well, the other products can pick up the slack. In some cases, companies can get a product mix that is too wide and it ends up eating up resources that the company could have better used in other ways.
One of the potential applications of using a product line is to help with pricing. When a company comes out with a line of products that are very similar to one other, it can use this to price the products effectively. For example, many companies use a "good, better, best" method of pricing products. The entry-level product has the lowest price, followed by the better product and then the best product. This can be a way to cater to customers in every pricing group.