When I am teaching my students about what a product is, I have them visualize the Target logo. There is an outermost ring, an inside ring, and the innermost area of the bulls eye. Then, I explain that the bulls eye area of the target is the core product. The second level is the augmented product. The outermost level is the total product. As an example:
The iPod Touch is a product that at its core level does nothing more than play music. There are many competitors that play music, sandisk, Sony, Zune, etc. However, when you effectively deploy (augment) features such as an application store, touch screen, Apple care service program, warranty, and status wow-factor of "having an iPod touch" you have then created the "Total Product."
I challenge the students to think about product offerings from a different perspective, that of the features, advantages, and true benefit of the augmented product and how these can be leveraged to create a unique product selling proposition.
Think about the features (physical characteristics of a product or service), advantages (a performance characteristic of the product), and the benefit (what's in it for the customer/client) as you go about your daily business. Think of augmentations to that core product and you will see these three components explode and thus give you a stronger uniqueness to what you offer.
Let's face it...people buy the benefits of "the total product..."