API Products

What is a product ?

According to Kotler, a product is anything offered to a market for attention, acquisition, use or consumption that satisfies a need (1). A product is the heart of a market offering – the value an organisation offers to its target customers and the basis on which it builds profitable relationships.

As an aside, it’s worth mentioning that a product is not necessarily a physical item. It can be a service, idea, person, place, organization or a mix of these.

Levels of Product

Marketers usually look at a product at 3 different levels.

  1. The core benefit. This is the core problem solving benefit that consumers are buying when they purchase the product. It is the core consumer need the product will satisfy. The core benefit answers the question – what is the customer really buying ? What is the core value the customer is expecting to get for handing over their money ? A customer who buys a drill, doesn’t want a drill – they want a hole, and a drill helps them create it.
  2. The actual product. Once the core benefit is defined, next comes the actual product. The actual product consists of the features, quality level, design, brand name, packaging and other attributes that combine to deliver the core benefit. For example, an iPhone is an actual product.
  3. The augmented product. These are additional customer services and benefits built around the core benefit and actual product. For example warranty, user manuals, repair and support services.

So how does this apply to APIs ?

So what is an API Product ?

An API product is a collection of one or more API solutions, that offer a value proposition to a particular customer segment in a given market.

In order to define a particular API Product, we need to define

  1. Its market and target customer
  2. Its value proposition
  3. The interface solution or solutions that are bundled in the product
  4. The usage plans.
  5. Define its security model.


  1. Principles of Marketing. – Kotler P, et al.
  2. API Products – Who, What, Where, When, Why and How by Alan Glickenhouse.
  3. API Product Management: Product Strategy and Execution for the Digital Economy. – Andrea Zulian & Amancio Bouza

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