Product orientation is a way to run a business that focuses on making high-quality products that people want. In other words, a business that focuses on its products thinks “if you build it well, people will buy it.”
On the other hand, a strategy called “market orientation” looks at the market. The biggest difference is that product-oriented companies make products that they think will catch people’s attention, while market-oriented companies make products that are made to meet people’s already-existing interests. Look at definitions and examples of companies that use this strategy to learn more about product orientation.
Activities That Focus on Outcomes
Before the middle of the 20th century, product orientation was pretty common because consumers didn’t have many options for certain products. Henry Ford said in the early 1900s, “Any customer can have a car painted any colour he wants, as long as it’s black.” This is a well-known example of this idea.
As the market changed, though, business strategies had to change to keep up with what people wanted. As lack of competition has become less common in most industries, many successful businesses now use a mix of market- and product-oriented approaches. Even though it’s still common for some companies to focus more on one side or the other, few use only one or the other.
Even so, product orientation is still an important part of the market strategies of most companies. During the product orientation stage of making a product, research, development, and a focus on the product are given a lot of attention.
Researching a product
Product research is important if you want to start a business or sell a new product. It helps you figure out how likely you are to be successful. Product research can include a wide range of tasks, such as evaluating and testing product ideas, figuring out how much competition you’ll have, figuring out how much the product might cost to make, and setting the price so that you can make a profit.
Creating new products
This is a big part of the process if a business’s main focus is on its products. Even though there are a lot of different things to do at this stage, the focus is on making the strongest process possible to make sure demand. Usually, development means making and designing a new product or finding ways to improve an existing one. It can also mean building and testing the product, as well as making, selling, and distributing it.
Product focus means making plans for things like how to sell, how to make, and what metrics to use. By putting their attention on the product, companies try to keep improving it so they can stay competitive in their industry.
Product Orientation Examples
Even though we said that many companies use both market orientation and product orientation, there are some that use product orientation more. Most of the time, these companies are the ones who come up with hot new products that people didn’t even know they wanted. Some examples include:
Before Steve Jobs and the Apple team became the tech stars they are today, no one had really thought of the iPod, iPhone, iPad, or anything else that starts with “i.” Yet Jobs and his team were able to make a lot of money by making these and other revolutionary new products that they correctly predicted would be in high demand.
Technically, Netflix is more of a service than a product, but by making it easy for customers to get the latest movies and TV shows, Netflix made big video rental stores like Blockbuster obsolete. Again, the company was successful because it found a convenient option that most people didn’t know existed.
Robinhood is an app for investing that has changed the way people trade on the market. Less than a decade ago, most people couldn’t invest in the stock market because brokerage commissions were so high. Then, Robinhood made a trading platform that anyone could use to get in on the action without having to pay commissions.
Because the service was so popular, other brokerages like TD Ameritrade and Etrade had to go commission-free in order to keep up. Robinhood took a product-oriented approach because it found a problem in a certain industry and fixed it in a way that no other company had thought of or tried to do.
What are the pros and cons of focusing on the product?
Companies that are more focused on their products tend to follow a different set of rules than those that are more focused on the market. Business models that focus a lot on marketing and products have their own pros and cons.
As was already said, companies that focus on their products often come up with new products or services that fill a need in the market. At least in the beginning, being the first business to sell a product or provide a service often means being the only one to do so. This is what happened to Netflix when it added digital streaming to its mail-delivery DVD rental service in the early 2000s.
Innovation has a downside in that when something works, more businesses try to sell it. By 2008, Hulu was already giving Netflix’s streaming service a run for its money. Today, these companies have to compete with Amazon Prime and services from individual networks and studios like Disney+ and Peacock. The point is that innovation can only get you so far.
What People Say
Product-oriented companies don’t have to worry as much about the idea that “the customer is always right” as market-oriented companies do. This lets them take feedback from the public with a grain of salt and relieves them of the pressure to keep up with trends that change all the time.
The bad thing is, though, that trends do sell. Businesses that focus on the market can often make a lot of money just by giving customers what they want. They don’t have to guess if a new product or service will fill a gap in the market. Instead, they listen to what the public has to say and make products that people already want.
Quality is usually the most important thing for product-based businesses. These companies know that their products need to be good because they want them to sell themselves in some ways. This method can save you money on advertising, but it doesn’t always take into account other things.
Apple will always have a lot of customers because of how good its iPhones are, but not everyone likes how expensive they are and how often they get updated. This has given competitors like Samsung a lot of room to offer similar smartphones at lower prices and with features that the iPhone doesn’t have.