Marketing and Comms – Kotler’s 5 Product Levels

I’m putting together a course specifically for charities and non-profits. This piece is part of a collection of materials that you can get as handouts, but I’ve also posted it online because even though it was made for the Building Value program, it could be useful for lots more people.

Kotler’s 5 Product Levels Model is a cool way to think about what you’re offering, whether it’s a product or a service, in a more detailed way. It helps you see not just what you’re selling or doing but all the extra value you can provide. Here’s a breakdown for a charity or non-profit:

  1. Core Benefit: This is the main reason someone would be interested in what you’re offering. For a charity, this could be the feeling of helping others or making a difference.
  2. Basic Product: Here, you look at the basic thing you’re offering. If you’re a non-profit that plants trees, the basic product is the tree planting service.
  3. Expected Product: These are the things people expect when they support your cause. Using the tree planting example, supporters might expect updates on where the trees are planted and information about the environmental impact.
  4. Augmented Product: This level is about adding extra stuff that makes your offer even better but isn’t necessarily expected. For the tree planting non-profit, this could be a certificate of appreciation or a photo of the tree with a GPS location.
  5. Potential Product: This is the future possibilities or the extra value that could be added later on. Maybe the non-profit starts a program where supporters can visit the trees they’ve helped plant.

Example: Imagine a charity called “Books for All” that gives books to kids who need them.

  • Core Benefit: Helping children learn and enjoy reading.
  • Basic Product: The books themselves.
  • Expected Product: Supporters expect the charity to choose books that are age-appropriate and engaging for the kids.
  • Augmented Product: They could also include a note from the child who received the book, sharing how much they loved it.
  • Potential Product: In the future, “Books for All” might start book clubs or reading programs, adding even more value to their initial offering.

Kotler’s 5 Product Levels Model helps charities and non-profits think about all the ways they can offer value and stand out, making sure supporters feel great about getting involved.