What Is A Product Life Cycle?

When it comes to marketing, nothing is left up to chance. All aspects of communication are carefully considered by marketing professionals in order to maximise sales and brand awareness. In saying that, marketing is not a static, one-size-fits-all process, either. As factors evolve - consumer preferences, competition and market volatility - so too do marketing tactics. 

Introducing the concept of the product life cycle.

The Product Life Cycle

As consumers, everything that we use has a finite lifespan from when it is first introduced to the market to when it is removed from sale. The life cycle of a product can be broken into four distinct stages: introduction, growth, maturity and decline. There is no set time frame for a product life cycle, as it is dependent on the product, the industry, and the marketing strategies employed by the business. Some products may reach the decline stage within 12 months; others can take several years. Typically, all products reach the end of their life cycle as newer products enter the market.

Why Is The Life Cycle Of A Product Important?

Marketing professionals use the product life cycle to develop strategies for pricing, advertising, redesigning packaging, expanding to new markets or developing new products. Using tangible data, this strategy acts as a guideline for marketers to predict future activity and prepare a marketing plan. The product life cycle can be dynamic; therefore, it is important that marketers are re-evaluating their strategies at each stage of the product life cycle to ensure the overall success of the product.

The Four Stages Explained

  1. Introduction

Once a developed product is ready for release into the market, it enters the introduction stage. Marketing is at its peak, with companies urgently communicating the benefits of the new product to consumers to encourage sales and build demand. In this stage, marketers get a feel for the response, and modify their tactics if need be.

  1. Growth

Sales increase in the growth stage as more consumers adapt to the product. Similarly, this draws greater attention from competitors, particularly if the product is doing well. The goal of this stage is to increase market share, and as such, advertising may still be pushed heavily in order to keep on top of the market.

  1. Maturity

Sales tend to slow down or even cease when a product reaches maturity. At this stage, companies may develop product variations to target different market segments, or consider changing their pricing in order to fend off competition. In a highly saturated market, less successful products that have reached maturity tend to be pushed out in favour of new entrants.

  1. Decline

Decline is almost inevitable due to changes in demand, consumer behaviour and increased competition. A sound marketing strategy can ensure that your business knows where to go from here.

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