In marketing, a whole product is a generic product augmented by everything that is needed for the customer to have a compelling reason to buy. The generic product is what is usually shipped to the customer. The whole product typically augments the generic product with training and support, manuals, cables, additional software or hardware, installation instructions, etc.
The concept of whole product comes from the realization that there is often a gap between the product shipped to the customer and the marketing promise made to that customer.
For example, if a computer is sold with the promise it can be used to organize, fix and print digital pictures, the whole product must not only include a computer but also come with at least a good quality monitor, a pre-installed operating system and digital imaging software, a color printer and all the necessary cables.
The concept of whole product was first formally introduced Theodore Levitt in The Marketing Imagination first published in 1983. It became popular in the high tech arena with the publication of Geoffrey A. Moore's Crossing the Chasm in 1991.
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