Whole Product

What is it?

The “whole product” includes everything that a customer needs to get the job that they want to do done. Your physical product or service is never enough on its own, the whole product It always includes things that the customer does for themselves and complementary products and services they buy from other companies.

When is it useful?

Map out the whole product as part of the product development process. Visualising it can highlight opportunities to enhance customer value by integrating the components of the whole product together better

By bundling additional parts of the whole product together with your product to deliver a bigger solution for customers with greater margin potential.

An Example?

The fundamental emotional “job” that Smirnoff does for customers is to “Make Life Exciting”. Clearly a flavourless alcoholic liquid cannot achieve this job on its own. The Vodka needs to be enhanced by physical complements, e.g. sharp fresh ice in order to create the perfect vodka and tonic drink. This drink then become part of a much bigger experience as a result of the bartender service and the nightclub ambience. The Smirnoff brand is linked in your memory with the amazing night out, and when you drink it later, the taste, smell, sound and look triggers the whole experience again.

Smirnoff can use its understanding of its whole product to deliver “make life exciting” more and more powerfully. For example:

  • It can work with bars to ensure high quality branded complements are used
  • It can invest in training bartenders to ensure the drinks are presented with style
  • It can even absorb some value added from the complements by incorporating a branded drinking bottle, lemon flavour and soda………..and launch a new product called Smirnoff Ice
  • It might consider integrating into creating Smirnoff branded nightclubs to deliver a complete branded experience, but very wisely leaves this to channel partners given the very different Key Success Factors in running a nightclub. Better to stop at organising Smirnoff events
  • Expand your definition of competitors to include complements trying to capture the same customer job value as you. For example, Red Bull competes with Smirnoff to be linked with “Make Life Special” – only one of them will anchor that spot in your memory. There is a huge difference in lifetime profitability between a customer calling for a “RedBull and vodka” and a “Smirnoff and energy drink”.

How do you do the analysis?

  • Start by defining the fundamental customer job the customer wants to get done. This will be emotional for B2C and increasing profit for B2B.
  • Then map out everything that has to happen to achieve this job successfully through customer interviews.

You can also link this to the profit pool of complements

How can you adapt this concept?

This concept works very well for complex B2B sales – a component in a car, an aircraft engine, a CRM system.

It will be powerful for the Internet of Things solutions – which complements can be swapped out vs. which are essential will determine who makes the profit from this huge opportunity.