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Product Line Analysis

In offering a product line, companies normally develop a basic platform and modules that can be added to meet different customer requirements, the way car manufacturers build vehicles around a basic platform. Product line managers need to know the sales and profits of each item in each line to determine which ones to build, maintain, harvest, or divest.10 They also need to understand each line’s market profile and image.11 Marketers can use a product map to see which competitors’ items are competing against their own items and to identify market segments so they can gauge how well their items are positioned to serve the needs of each segment.

Product Line Length

Companies seeking high market share and market growth will generally carry longer product lines. Those emphasizing high profitability will carry shorter lines of carefully chosen items. However, consumers are increasingly weary of dense product lines, overextended brands, and feature-laden products (see “Marketing Insight: When Less Is More”).12

 
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