The product life cycle refers to a series of changes and developments that a product goes through in the market. Akin to human beings, a product goes through four different stages namely; the introductory, growth, maturity and decline stages as reflected in the product life cycle. Some of the distinctive features of the introductory stage include low pricing to enhance market penetration, selective distribution of the product, and extensive promotion for product awareness. At this stage, a product may experience exceptionally low or negative revenues since the product is still new and unknown to consumers.
After the growth stage, the production levels increase and firms benefit from the economies of scale. Some of the features of the growth stage include enhancing product quality, addition of distribution channels, and broader promotion for greater awareness of the product. The maturity stage is characterized by the market saturation leading to a reduction in profits. The distinctive features of the maturity stage include product differentiation, lower prices due to competition, and extensive distribution to promote brand preference. At the decline stage, the product has outlived its usefulness, as it attracts low sales and consumers, preferring new products. Some of the distinctive features of this stage include maintaining the product, harvesting the product, or discontinuing the product.
Analysis from an article that relates to the product life cycle
In doing the analysis, i used an article titled “About the product life cycle” written by Steve Gross. The article talks about the strategies, which product managers can do to ensure a product goes through the entire life cycle.
According to Gross, product managers need to develop marketing strategies that will help to maintain the life cycle of a product. At the introduction stage, he argues that if managers do not build end user awareness of the product, it will attract negative earnings. In addition, product managers must use marketing the communications to create product awareness (about the product life cycle).
At the growth stage, product managers should create brand awareness in order to increase market share. This can be achieved through product modification and increase distribution channels (Gross, about the product life cycle). At the maturity stage, Gross advises that are a result of generic competition and decline in sales, product mangers should enhance product features for differentiation purposes. Finally, at the decline stage, Gross is of the view that product managers should focus more on product recreation. However, at this stage, companies have the option of harvesting or discontinuing the product (about the product life cycle).