Wednesday, October 06, 2010
According to Kotler et al (1999) a product is ‘anything that can be offered to a market for attention, acquisition, use or consumption that might satisfy a want or need. It includes objects, services, persons, places, organizations and ideas’ (p.11). Kotler’s definition and theories of product are widely accepted and referred to in a variety of texts including Lancaster and Reynolds (2004); Morgan and Pritchard (2001) and Swarbrooke (1995) who also applies theories from Kotler (1994) to his own research. In his work Swarbrooke (1995) applies Kotler’s theories, which were principally aimed at manufacturing industries to visitor attractions and service industries with regards to ‘levels of product’, identifying three distinct product levels, these are:
· core products – the main benefits that a consumer derives from purchasing a product, i.e. what they truly seek from the product;
· tangible products – this is what the consumer is actually buying into, and from this will gain the core product, and;
· augmented products – these are ancillary goods and services that the consumer is also buying into, which influence their decision as to whether to buy into a product, but they are typically not perceived to be the ‘main’ product by the consumer.
(Swarbrooke, 1995, pp. 39-41).
Through application of the above theory about product levels to nightclubs, the following figure has been created to demonstrate what nightclub consumers are actually buying into, in terms of product levels.
Levels of product for a nightclub. Source: Author, based upon Swarbrooke (1995, figure 3.2, p.40).
From the above figure, it is clearly demonstrated that the core product, which clubbers are buying into, is the atmosphere within the venues that they are visiting, and the emotions that they will experience during their visit. The atmosphere within a nightclub directly affects the emotions that clubbers experience during their visit, and for the vast majority of clubbers the emotions that they seek are typically ‘light-hearted’ and positive, including enjoyment, happiness, excitement, lust and love (Moss, S, 2009).
Club nights are typically given a theme, which will include the type of music on offer, who the DJs playing the music are, internal club décor, external promotional branding (including flyers) and other entertainment including dancers and performers from artists such as singers and fire-breathers. Themes are designed to appeal to a particular market segment and contribute to the tangible and augmented products on offer as perceived by consumers. Besides the theme of a given club night, other tangible products such as the physical club infrastructure will also play a part in the decision making process of consumers in their choice of venue. This may include the dimensions and layout of a club or a part of a club, such as the dancefloor and bars, other augmented products such as toilets and cloak room facilities may also play a part in the decision making process.
Skinner, Moss, G and Parfitt (2005) carried out a study in which they examined customer attitudes to a variety of aspects of nightclub service offerings, in this study they carried out focus groups and a questionnaire, their findings indicated that nightclub visitors were looking for originality, unique features, and value within the product offering. In this research, 49% of male students stated that alcohol pricing was important to encourage repeat visitation to nightclubs, and 52% of female students stated that music and entertainment was an important factor when deciding upon a choice of venue.
Kotler, P. (1994) Marketing management: Analysis, planning, implementation and control. 8th Prentice Hall, New Jersey. Edition.
Kotler, P., Armstrong, G., Saunders, J. and Wong, V. (1999) Principles of marketing. 2nd European Edition. London, Prentice Hall.
Lancaster, G. and Reynolds, P. (2004) Marketing. Basingstoke, Palgrave-Macmillan.
Morgan, N. and Pritchard, A. (2001) Advertising in tourism and leisure. Oxford, Butterworth-Heinemann.
Moss, S. ed. (2009) The entertainment industry: An introduction. Wallingford, CAB International.
Skinner, H., Moss, G. and Parfitt, S. (2005) Nightclubs and bars: What do customers really want?. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management. Vol. 17, Issue 2, pp. 114 – 124.
Swarbrooke, J. (1995) The development and management of visitor attractions. Oxford, Butterworth-Heinemann.