Product Life Cycle Basics
Master the learning curve of product life cycle basicsVisualize the fundamental product life cycle as a curve, starting from zero at initial development and rising from market introduction through growth before leveling off at maturity, then eventually reaching zero again at decline and termination. Each stage of the product life cycle interacts with and is impacted by customer wants and needs, supply chain logistics and both competitive action and price pressure.
Business trends such as globalization, outsourcing, just-in-time supply chains and real-time connectivity may make directing product growth feel like controlling a rollercoaster mid-ride. Actually, these factors make managing the product life cycle that much more important. You can’t afford a shotgun approach to making and marketing product; you need to know exactly how well your goods synchronize with the marketplace, from cradle to grave. To simplify the complexity of product life cycle management, break down the product life cycle model into three phases:
1. Giving birth to new product through conceptualization and development;
2. Nurturing product from its debut in the market through initial growth spurt;
3. Sustaining product to weather competitive pressure through maturity and even decline.
Labor through new product development with careful product cycle management
Cultivate your new products through the product life cycle growth periodProduct launch can be exciting and confusing, as on the plus side the market takes notice and on the minus side so does the competition. New choices present themselves, based on market reaction. You still have room to make sizable course corrections on product attributes to get closer to customer needs and expectations, packaging to grab consumer attention, and price points to maximize profit or grab market share from competitive knock-offs. If all goes well, this period sees your investment start to pay off as revenue soars.
Stanford’s product life cycle chart and table below outlines the interaction between product, consumer and competitor. Siemens offers a brochure on PLM and its various benefits, including more personalized products, effectively matching market requirements, maximizing internal resources. Take a look at their video as well.
Extend the product life cycle through maturity and even stave off the endNot everything must die. As the product life cycle of Coke and other iconic brands show, some products can go on for a century or longer. As your choice matrix becomes narrower, more nuanced; you must decide whether to pursue a coca-cola product life cycle of new recipes and freshened packaging, or take the automotive route of planned obsolescence, letting go of old products or brands to make room for new. Or, do you provide price incentives that reward repeat customers versus grab the attention of those who still haven't tried your product or prefer your competitors'.
QuickMBA.com outlines how the marketing mix shifts with each phase, from introduction to decline. Skim to the bottom of the Progressive Distributor site, offered through Milo Media for strategies on how to extend the life of a product.
- Turn your product or brand life cycle on its head by starting at the end. As a development exercise, write your product's obituary. What kind of life did it lead? What was its final age? How successful was it-How, where, why did it achieve its success? What caused its demise? Use your obit to establish the product's parameters and develop from there.
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