The product life cycle contains four distinct stages: introduction, growth, maturity and decline. Each stage is associated with changes in the product's marketing position. You can use various marketing strategies in each stage to try to prolong the life cycle of your products.
Product introduction strategies
Marketing strategies used in introduction stages include:
- rapid skimming - launching the product at a high price and high promotional level
- slow skimming - launching the product at a high price and low promotional level
- rapid penetration - launching the product at a low price with significant promotion
- slow penetration - launching the product at a low price and minimal promotion
During the introduction stage, you should aim to:
- establish a clear brand identity
- connect with the right partners to promote your product
- set up consumer tests, or provide samples or trials to key target markets
- price the product or service as high as you believe you can sell it, and to reflect the quality level you are providing
You could also try to limit the product or service to a specific type of consumer - being selective can boost demand. Read more about the introduction stage of a product life cycle.
Product growth strategies
Marketing strategies used in the growth stage mainly aim to increase profits. Some of the common strategies to try are:
- improving product quality
- adding new product features or support services to grow your market share
- enter new markets segments
- keep pricing as high as is reasonable to keep demand and profits high
- increase distribution channels to cope with growing demand
- shifting marketing messages from product awareness to product preference
- skimming product prices if your profits are too low.
Growth stage is when you should see rapidly rising sales, profits and your market share. Your strategies should seek to maximise these opportunities.
Product maturity strategies
When your sales peak, your product will enter the maturity stage. This often means that your market will be saturated and you may find that you need to change your marketing tactics to prolong the life cycle of your product. Common strategies that can help during this stage fall under one of two categories:
- market modification - this includes entering new market segments, redefining target markets, winning over competitor’s customers, converting non-users
- product modification - for example, adjusting or improving your product’s features, quality, pricing and differentiating it from other products in the marking
Read more about the growth and maturity stage of a product life cycle.
Product decline strategies
During the end stages of your product, you will see declining sales and profits. This can be caused by changes in consumer preferences, technological advances and alternatives on the market. At this stage, you will have to decide what strategies to take. If you want to save money, you can:
- reduce your promotional expenditure on the products
- reduce the number of distribution outlets that sell them
- implement price cuts to get the customers to buy the product
- fin another use for the product
- maintain the product and wait for competitors to withdraw from the market first
- harvest the product or service before discontinuing it
Another option is for your business to discontinue the product from your offering. You may choose to:
- sell the brand to another business
- significantly reduce the price to get rid of all the inventory
Many businesses find that the best strategy is to modify their product in the maturity stage to avoid entering the decline stage. Find out more about product life cycle - decline stage.