A good example of this is the case of the Model T. Henry Ford was quoted as saying that consumers could have any color they wanted, as long as it was black, and was able to say this because the Model T enjoyed a successful production orientation when automobiles were being introduced to the mass market. As the automobile moved into the growth phase of the product life cycle, however, competition increased and companies with different orientations began to force changes at Ford as well as other manufacturers.
The product orientation is based on product features and benefits ("Marketing Orientation" 10). Companies that have a product orientation focus on establishing and maintaining product features that have some perceived benefit to the customer. In some cases, these features might be a dedication to product quality, or features that make the product appear to be "better" than the competition. Companies that have a product orientation tend to develop new products and then seek markets for them rather than the other way around. 3M and its introduction of Post-It notes is one example of a product orientation--the company introduced the product without a clear focus on who the ultimate consumer would be (Bouchey 10). Promotional activities tend to focus on creating product differentiation in the minds of consumers.
With a product orientation, the focus is still primarily internal--similar to a production orientation--but the focus is on the product rather than the process. There is an emphasis on product improvement, product quality, and ensuring that the product has features that offer benefit to consumers. In this way, the product orientation begins to take external consumer factors into account. As with the production orientation, profitability is realized through volume ("Furrer" 20).
Product orientation is typically found in the growth phase of the product life cycle when there is increased competition and companies ...
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