This classification is linked to organisational buying behaviour where the fact that buyers are dealing with larger
sums of money and larger quantities tends to make it a more professional and organised process than in consumer
These are the types of products and services with which we, as individuals, are familiar. Unlike industrial
products, more irrational and emotional motives tend to be connected with their purchase and it is upon this
factor that many manufacturers base much of their marketing effort. As with industrial goods, they also lend
themselves to a number of sub-categories.
Convenience goods are everyday items whose purchase takes little effort on the buyer’s part. They can be
classed as everyday necessities, purchased on a regular basis. Advertising plays an important role in terms
of attempting to persuade the consumer to take a particular brand. Staple convenience goods are purchased
routinely for consumption and it is more difficult to differentiate one product from another and no pre-
planning goes into their purchase. Many such products are delivered to the door like milk and newspapers.
Shopping goods is the term used to describe durable products and their purchase tends to be at infrequent
intervals. More planning goes into their purchase on the part of buyers and buyer behaviour is more
complex. The purchasing cycle is much longer and more complex models of buyer behaviour apply.
Further classifications relate to homogeneous shopping goods that are standard items like toasters and kettles
and heterogeneous shopping goods that are non-standard and where personal choice plays a more important
Speciality goods are major purchases made at infrequent intervals. Here, much probing in the market-place
is undertaken by customers. Many more purchasing motivations are involved in the final decision and quite
often the final purchase is a compromise decision between a number of purchasing criteria. Examples of
such purchases are motor cars and a major item of relatively expensive clothing.
Unsought goods are ones that the purchaser has not actively considered buying. Techniques used in their
marketing are often rather dubious and this has led to much criticism of marketing. Consumers usually have
to be persuaded that they need such products, as it would never occur to them to go out and actively
purchase. Insurance typifies such a service - particularly life assurance - where the potential customer does
not necessarily see an immediate need for this service. Methods of selling such goods and services tend to
use more directly targeted approaches like direct mail, telephone selling and door-to-door.
Larger organisations, especially those that produce consumer durables and fast moving consumer goods (fmcg)
often have what is termed a ‘product management’ system of managing single products or a line of similar
products. In fmcg companies, the term used tends to be ‘brand manager’ whose responsibility it is to manage the
image and the marketing (but not the selling) of a single product line. This person acts as a liaison between the
advertising agency and the company and is responsible for the ‘image’ of the product and will commission
marketing research when it is needed.
This kind of system has been criticised on the grounds that product managers have to rely upon others, especially
the sales force, to carry out their ideas. This has the potential for conflict, particularly on the part of the field sales
force who have to be sold the promotional idea with which they may, or may not, agree.
Where a system of product management is in operation, the typical organisation of the marketing function is that
the marketing manager is in overall control and is directly under the managing director. Under the marketing
manager is the overall products manager and under the products manager come individual brand managers.
Alongside the products manager comes the sales manager and under the sales manager comes the sales team
organised by various kinds of geographical or functional split.