What Defines a Product?

So a debate I had today was over what constiutes a new product: is it really just marketing? Or, is there a true distinction?

Take for example any number of the social networking platforms that exist. If one says “hey let us design a social network for your customers” and then comes back and says “we can also sell you a solution for your events”….. and then once again “we can sell you a solution for your alumni” – are those all unique products? Is a product unique even though it’s created using the same platform as another product?

As an analogy, consider a car. All cars have four wheels, axles and breaks. At what point is a car a unique/new product versus being “highly customized?” Are products differentiated simply by the brands that sell them? If so, what about cars that are exactly the same model, but simply sold under different brands. Like the Old Audis and Jettas? Are those still unique products?

Maybe it really just doesn’t matter.


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