A product typically goes through a number of stages in its life cycle. Each stage offers opportunities as well as challenges, and therefore, you need to devise a range of marketing strategies to use in each stage of the product life cycle. This article aims to help you explore a variety of product life cycle marketing strategies.
Stages in the product life cycle
There are four stages in the product life cycle i.e. introduction, growth, maturity, and decline. According to Kotler et al. (2009) when a product is introduced into the market, it usually experiences a period of slow sales growth. Most of the companies are unlikely to make profits in this stage. The next stage in the cycle is growth which characterises a period of rapid market acceptance of the product potentially resulting in improved profits.
Maturity is the third stage in the product life cycle. This is the stage where your product has reached its peak. In this stage, you are likely to face fierce competition from competitors and substitute products. The last stage in the cycle is decline. According to Kotler et al. (2009), sales show a downward drift and profits erode in this stage.
Product life cycle marketing strategies
You need to have a variety of product life cycle marketing strategies as each stage in the cycle is distinctive. An attempt to use the same marketing strategy in all stages may turn out to be ineffective and costly.
Marketing strategies in the introduction stage
A fundamental question for you in this stage is when to introduce the product. Is it that you would like to introduce it before any other competitors? While this move has certain challenges, it will give you first mover advantages. In this stage, the purposes of your promotional campaigns are likely to inform potential customers of the product, encourage customers to try the product, and secure the most suitable distribution channels. As the cost of production is high in stage, you may have to keep the price high as well.
Marketing strategies in the growth stage
In the growth stage, you are likely to witness a rapid increase in sales. However, you are also likely witness new competitors or substitutes products coming into the market. Consequently, you may have to increase your promotional expenditures to fend them off. It may also be necessary to improve the product quality and add new product features. As you are producing the products in large volumes, the cost is likely to decrease resulting in increased profits. This may also mean that you are now in a stage to lower your prices as well to attract more customers.
Marketing strategies in the maturity stage
Maturity is a very challenging stage for any marketers. In this stage, the sales growth slows down and customers start switching to other products and markets. Competitors increase their advertising campaigns, lower their prices, and use a variety of sales promotions techniques to take customers away from you. So, what do you do in this stage? Can you cut prices to attract new customers? Can you identify new distribution channels to make your product available in wider platforms? Can you offer some incentives such as buy one get one free to increase sales? In fact, you need a renewed marketing strategy in this stage.
Marketing strategies in the decline stage
The decline stage is where sales show a downward drift. Therefore, you need to identify the reasons for sales decline. It is perhaps happening because tastes and preferences of customers have changed. Perhaps, it is because of technological advancement. Many competitors decide to leave the market in this stage. So, what do you do? Do you want to withdraw the product from the market? Or, do you want continue to see what happens once competitors leave the market? However, you may cut prices further to see customer’s reaction before making the final decision of whether to stay or withdraw from the market.
We hope the article has helped you explore a variety of product life cycle marketing strategies. You may also find Product life cycle – What is product life cycle? useful. If you liked this article, please share it by clicking on the icons below.
The article publication date: 12 November 2017
Kotler et al. (2009) Marketing management, 1st edition, England: Pearson Education Limited
Levitt, T. (1965) Exploit the Product Life Cycle, available at https://hbr.org/1965/11/exploit-the-product-life-cycle (Accessed 10 November 2017)
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Author: M Rahman
M Rahman writes extensively online and offline with an emphasis on business management, marketing, and tourism. He is a lecturer in Management and Marketing. He holds an MSc in Tourism & Hospitality from the University of Sunderland. Also, graduated from Leeds Metropolitan University with a BA in Business & Management Studies and completed a DTLLS (Diploma in Teaching in the Life-Long Learning Sector) from London South Bank University.