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Understanding the Importance of Product Line in Marketing Strategy

There are 3 main schools of thoughts in marketing. We practise Positioning and Category Design. To explain what Category Design really is, we must first understand what "Category" in marketing really is.

Product Line in Marketing

Category is a common word. Depending on how one defines it, there can be mega-category, sub-cateogry and mini-category... To avoid confusion, it may be better to replace "category" with "product line". Before we move deeper into what a "product line" is, let's take an imaginary tour into a library for a book.

What category is the book in? In the library, books are first divided into fiction and non-fiction. If you are looking for a thriller in a courtroom setting, you will go to the fiction => thriller => law. Going one level deeper, you will be choosing among writers like John Grisham, David Baldacci or Scott Turow. In this example, the product line is law thriller and those writers are the brands.

Product Line in Marketing

If you are looking for a self help book to live more effectively, you will go to non-fiction => self help. From there, you will pick an author among James Clear, Stephen Covey and many others. In this example, the product line is self help book. James Clear and Stephen Covey among the top brands in this product line because their titles have been sold in the millions.

As Nicolas Cole said, "Categories are how we organise information in our minds". A product line is the last category before one thinks of brands in that category. In marketing and branding, we aim to be the first brand that springs up in the consumers' minds when they think of a product line. We call the first brand the category king. iPhone is the category king of smart phones. Coca Cola is the category king of cola drinks. Tesla is the category king of electric cars.


So, are you the category king of a product line? If you are, congrats! You are likely to take home the lion's share the market. If you are not yet there, you can start from giving your store a category name.


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