What Is an Offering in Marketing?
An offering in marketing is the total offer to your customers. An offering is more than the product itself and includes elements that represent additional value to your customers, such as availability, convenient delivery, technical support or quality of service. A strong offering differentiates your products from competitors and creates value by meeting customers’ wider needs better than other options.
To develop an offering, you need to understand the factors that are most important to your customers. Market research enables your development team to incorporate the product features and benefits that reflect customer needs. However, it can be more difficult to identify the non-product needs that make up the total offering. If customers need components or raw materials quickly to keep production lines running, for example, including express delivery in your offering gives you an advantage over competitors that only provide standard delivery. Offering the convenience of ordering your products online, rather than visiting a store, may represent value to some of your customers.
Support is an important element in a customer offering if you market products that are complex, difficult to install or require regular maintenance. If you market consumer electrical products, such as home entertainment systems for example, your customers will appreciate the convenience of having a specialist install and set up the system to get the best performance. A company buying a machine tool puts value on a proactive support package that uses remote diagnostics to keep their equipment running efficiently with minimal downtime
Customer convenience is an intangible factor that can provide a strong differentiator to your offering. Auto repair shops that operate extended hours or provide a collection and delivery service offer busy customers a level of convenience that goes beyond the quality of their workmanship. A computer software company that provides customers with automated upgrades when it releases new versions reduces the time customers have to spend on upgrading. Offering business customers tailored finance deals helps them improve their cash flow and may secure you the contract.
Quality of customer service is another intangible factor. By making courtesy calls after a customer buys a product, you can demonstrate that you offer high levels of customer care. Responding quickly to service requests gives customers confidence and peace of mind that they are dealing with a reliable supplier.
Customers put a different value on different aspects of a product, so it is important to match the offering to the customer. By offering customers different combinations of products and added value elements, a process known as “bundling,” you can satisfy the needs of individual customers.