The Elements of Product Mix

Updated Sep 23, 2022.
Elements of Product Mix 3

A firm's product mix refers to the complete set of products, services, or a combination of both of that particular company. The product mix is a subset of the marketing mix.

In a real sense, a company's product mix or product portfolio consists of its multiple product lines that consumers use to differentiate products and services.  

A product line evolves as manufacturers try to take advantage of the brand's value due to the success of other products in the mix. 

The product mix consists of four common elements.

1. Length

Product mix length consists of all related products offered by a single brand or, in other related terms, it includes the total number of stock-keeping units associated with a product line. 

The working ideology behind creating a product line is that customers relate better and go for products with a good brand image or established brand names. 

To a large extent, this explains why most companies introduce a series of products aimed at capturing sales from loyal customers. 

Dimensions of Product Mix
Source: Product Plan

Product Length Examples

For example, the length of a company's wine product line is the number of distinct brands the company carries. 

Another typical example is the Samsung smartphone brand which offers several products under its Galaxy smartphone product line to existing markets. 

Multiple Product Lines Example

In another view, product length is the total number of products in a company's product mix. 

A car company with three car product lines (A-series, B-series, and C-series) is looking to build a brand mark in the car industry. If there are four types of cars within each product line series, then that car company's product length is twelve. 

Essentially, the longer the product line, the more options and access to more excellent product assortment for consumers within their choice of what product or service to choose. 

2. Breadth

Product mix width or breadth refers to the variety of available products or services offered by a company, and they need not come from a particular brand as they can come from different brands. 

This product mix element can also be the number of product lines or varieties a company offers. A wider variety of products generally translates into sales growth for the company and its retail outlets. 

Product Breadth Example for Retailers 

Retailers are afforded the greatest product width as they function as one-stop shops and help manage products and protect them from the risk of being obsolete.

In the case of a shoe retail store, retailers can have more than a hundred different shoe products from distinct product lines and a wide variety of performance footwear brands to provide product width to potential customers. 

Businesses that offer discounts regularly and sell products in a wide range of product categories are the ones that mainly utilize the variety of product lines as they have a wide range of options to offer. 

Product Breadth Example for Manufacturers

Besides retailers, manufacturers develop product breadth to help minimize the risk of a product becoming obsolete.

A typical example is Kellogg's product line, which offers different product categories: 

  • Ready-to-eat cereal
  • Pastries
  • Breakfast snacks
  • Crackers and cookies
  • Frozen, organic, and natural goods 

3. Depth

Product depth refers to the wide variety of options of a particular product in an existing line. 

The idea behind product depth is to provide consumers with a wide range of options on a specific product or service available for their choosing. With this product mix element, a company retains its existing lines but expands to include new products.

Essentially with the product depth, customers are provided with several flexible options to match the product or service they intend to purchase with their specific needs. 

Product depth refers to the various ways consumers can purchase a particular product in a product line. 

Consider walking into a store to buy soft drinks. You can buy soft drinks in several different volumes, such as a bottle or can, which is the variety that comes with product depth. 

Product depth is also closely related to product length in the product mix as they offer consumers several options to choose from in their choice of a given product or service.

Companies can deepen their product depth without adding new products but by developing new use cases for existing products.

Product Depth Examples

A typical example of product depth can be seen in the trademark iPhone smartphone brand and its newest iPhone 14 Pro max series, which was designed to offer users various storage options for their specific needs for their choosing. 

Another example is regular soap, a daily household requirement. You can either opt for liquid form, powder form, or gel form; depending on your taste and intended use, you can either opt for liquid, powder, or gel. 

So, in essence, product depth through the variety of options enhances the flexibility of buyers.  

4. Consistency

Product consistency refers to using a similar and distinct design pattern for every existing product in a product line. Its coverage of existing and new markets or service outlets and broader business demographics is pervasive. 

A product or service, production, and marketing mix will be more cost-effective if all the product lines are consistent. Consistency ensures quality is the standard. 

Product consistency refers to how closely related product lines are to one another concerning their usability, production, and distribution channels. 

Product Consistency Example

With product consistency, retailers can recommend the following alternatives for a particular product or service. 

Suppose the option of the Adidas Solar Boosts is not available for a shoe retailer. In that case, the retailer can recommend the Adidas Ultraboost. Due to product consistency, these two products are similar in performance, build, and price. 

Benefits of Product Consistency

1. Positioning as Niche Producers or Distributors

Consistency in the product mix offers numerous benefits to companies that utilize this element of product mix. It helps them better position themselves as niche producers or distributors while ensuring the company's brand image is similar to its products or services.  

Consistency as an element of product mix is the connection between products or services within the product line and how it gets to respective customers. 

2. Cost-Effective

The more consistent a product line is, the more effective and cost-effective it will be. It is easier for retailers to recommend comparable products. 

Particular products in the product mix ultimately translate to a unique selling process for all the associated products in the product line.

Anastasia Belyh

Editor at FounderJar

Anastasia has been a professional blogger and researcher since 2014. She loves to perform in-depth software reviews to help software buyers make informed decisions when choosing project management software, CRM tools, website builders, and everything around growing a startup business.

Anastasia worked in management consulting and tech startups, so she has lots of experience in helping professionals choosing the right business software.