Product Life Cycle
Product Life Cycle is a marketing concept that gives a description of the stages that a product goes through from the point that it is first thought about to the time when it is finally out of the market (when it has been acquired by consumers). One thing that should be noted about product life cycle is that not all products can go through all the stages. There are some that continue to grow and others that fall along the line. The product lifecycle can be summed up into four stages that include introduction, growth, maturity and decline.
In the introduction stage, a firm seeks to build the awareness of a product as well as develop a market for it. There are lots of activities that are conducted at this stage starting with the branding of the product. Besides, the level of the product’s quality is also established. It is also at this stage that property protection is enhanced through patents and trademarks. The firm will also need to do its pricing for the product in order to build market share.
Distribution of the product also begins at this stage but is selective till the time that consumers begin to accept the product. It is also at the introduction stage that promotion of the product begins. The promotional activities conducted are focused on innovators and those who can adopt the product at this early stage. Marketing efforts are aimed at education of consumers about the product.
At the growth stage, the firm aims at building brand preference and increasing the market share. It is here that product quality is maintained, more features and support services are added if need be. Pricing at this stage is maintained while the distribution channels are also enhanced for the penetration of the product into a wider market.
At the maturity stage, the strong growth in sales that has been depicted by the product since introduction begins to diminish. Competition may begin to show up with other similar products and it is important that the firm focuses on defending its market share and maximizing profits. Distribution at this stage becomes more intense and can involve offering of incentives to enhance preference over competitors’ products. Besides, product features may need to be enhanced for differentiation of the product in the market.
At the final stage, the sales of the product begin to take a downward trend and the firm has various options. Product maintenance is enhanced through addition of new features and even fin ding new uses. Product cost can also be reduced and supply maintained for the benefit of loyal customers. On the other hand, the firm may also choose to discontinue the product through liquidation of the remaining stock or selling it to another firm that may be willing to continue selling the product to the same market or another. It is also at this stage that the firm may seek to rejuvenate the product. In case the product is liquidated, the price may be drastically reduced.
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