New ebook
10 Best Practices to Optimize Your Product Org
Product Operations

Product Levels

What are Product Levels?
Definition of Product Levels
Product levels logically describe increasing hierarchy categorizations types labeling various degrees efficiencies for all offerings possibilities spectrum spanning from basic generic undifferentiated inadequate solutions barely maintaining customer retention rates, advancing through expected adequate good enough products temporarily achieving nominal category par solutions minimally required up to actual best-in-class differentiated excellent delighters. These sustain maximized customer lifetime values and directly manage higher profitable revenue portfolio growth rates compounding annually.

In the realm of product management and operations, understanding product levels is crucial. This concept is a fundamental building block that helps professionals in the field to strategize, plan, and execute product-related tasks more effectively. This glossary article aims to provide an in-depth and comprehensive understanding of product levels, their significance, and how they are managed and operated in a business context.

Product levels refer to the different stages or layers that a product goes through, from its core concept to its final tangible form. These levels help in identifying the value that a product offers to its customers and how it can be enhanced to meet the evolving market demands. The understanding of product levels is not only beneficial for product managers but also for marketers, sales professionals, and other stakeholders involved in the product lifecycle.

Product Levels: An Overview

Product levels can be seen as a hierarchical structure that breaks down a product into different layers based on its value proposition. Each level adds a unique value to the product, making it more appealing and beneficial for the customers. Understanding these levels can help businesses to better position their products in the market and create effective marketing strategies.

Typically, there are five product levels: core benefit, basic product, expected product, augmented product, and potential product. Each of these levels represents a different aspect of the product, starting from its fundamental purpose to its potential for future enhancements. Let's delve deeper into each of these levels.

Core Benefit

The core benefit is the fundamental value or need that the product fulfills for the customers. It is the primary reason why a customer would consider buying the product. For example, the core benefit of a car is transportation - it enables people to travel from one place to another.

Understanding the core benefit is crucial as it forms the basis of the product concept. It helps in identifying the basic requirements that the product must fulfill and sets the direction for its development. The core benefit is the most basic level of a product and serves as the foundation for the subsequent levels.

Basic Product

The basic product is the physical or tangible form of the product that delivers the core benefit. It includes the basic features and functionalities that enable the product to fulfill its core purpose. In the case of a car, the basic product includes the engine, wheels, seats, and other essential components that make it capable of transportation.

While developing the basic product, it's important to focus on quality and functionality. The product should be designed and manufactured in a way that it effectively delivers the core benefit and meets the basic expectations of the customers. Any compromise on the basic product can significantly impact the overall value of the product and its acceptance in the market.

Expected Product

The expected product refers to the attributes and conditions that the customers usually expect when they purchase a product. These expectations are often influenced by the market standards, competitors' offerings, and the customers' past experiences. For a car, the expected product may include a comfortable interior, good fuel efficiency, reliable performance, and so on.

Meeting the expectations of the customers is crucial for the success of a product. It not only ensures customer satisfaction but also helps in building a positive brand image. Therefore, businesses should constantly monitor the market trends and customer feedback to understand the expectations and make necessary adjustments to their products.

Augmented Product

The augmented product includes additional features or services that exceed the customer's expectations and differentiate the product from its competitors. These could be free maintenance services, extended warranty, home delivery, and so on. For a car, the augmented product could include advanced safety features, high-end entertainment system, personalized customer service, and more.

Augmenting the product can significantly enhance its value and appeal in the market. It provides an opportunity for businesses to differentiate their products and create a unique selling proposition. However, it's important to ensure that the augmented features or services are relevant and valuable for the customers, and they align with the overall product concept.

Potential Product

The potential product refers to the future enhancements or improvements that can be made to the product. It represents the product's potential for growth and innovation. For a car, the potential product could be self-driving capabilities, electric powertrain, AI-based features, and so on.

Identifying the potential product is crucial for long-term product planning and strategy. It helps businesses to stay ahead of the competition and continuously innovate their products to meet the evolving market demands. However, it's important to consider the feasibility and market acceptance of the potential enhancements before implementing them.

Product Management and Operations

Product management and operations involve planning, developing, marketing, and managing a product throughout its lifecycle. It requires a deep understanding of the product levels to create a product that meets the needs and expectations of the customers and stands out in the market.

Product management starts with identifying the core benefit and designing the basic product. It involves understanding the customer needs, market trends, and competitive landscape to develop a product that delivers the core benefit effectively. Once the basic product is developed, the focus shifts to meeting the customer expectations and augmenting the product to enhance its value and appeal. Finally, the potential product is identified for future enhancements and growth.

Role of Product Manager

The product manager plays a critical role in managing the product levels. They are responsible for understanding the customer needs, market trends, and competitive landscape to develop a product strategy that aligns with the business goals. They work closely with the development team to ensure that the product delivers the core benefit effectively and meets the customer expectations.

Product managers also play a key role in augmenting the product. They identify opportunities for adding value to the product and differentiate it from the competitors. They also monitor the market and customer feedback to identify the potential product and plan for future enhancements.

Role of Operations Manager

The operations manager is responsible for ensuring that the product is manufactured and delivered efficiently and effectively. They oversee the production process, manage the supply chain, and ensure that the product meets the quality standards. They also play a key role in managing the product inventory and distribution.

Operations managers also work closely with the product managers to understand the product levels and ensure that the product is produced and delivered in a way that meets the customer expectations and enhances the product value. They play a critical role in ensuring the success of the product in the market.


Understanding product levels is crucial for effective product management and operations. It provides a structured approach to product development and helps businesses to create products that meet the needs and expectations of the customers and stand out in the market. By understanding and managing the product levels, businesses can enhance the value of their products, improve customer satisfaction, and achieve their business goals.

Whether you're a product manager, operations manager, or any other professional involved in the product lifecycle, having a deep understanding of product levels can significantly enhance your ability to strategize, plan, and execute product-related tasks. So, delve deep into this concept, understand its nuances, and leverage it to create successful products.