Have you ever wondered how a product is created? Can you think of a product that was a big hit back in the day but not available now? Some say that a product has a life cycle like Mother Nature. A bird drops a seed on the ground; the seed starts to sprout; shoots out leaves and roots; the plant matures into a big tree and after years of stormy weather and sunny spring the tree dies.
In theory, it’s the same for a product. After a period of development, it is introduced or launched into the market (bird drops the seed on the ground); it gains more and more customers as it grows (shoots out leaves and roots); eventually the market stabilizes and the product becomes mature (little seed became a big tree); then after a period of time the product is overtaken by development and the introduction of superior competitors, it goes into decline and is eventually withdrawn (death of tree).
To say that a product has a life cycle is to assert four things:
- That products have a limited life,
- product sales pass through distinct stages, each facing different challenges, opportunities, and problems to the seller,
- profit rise and fall at different stages of product life cycle, and
- products require different marketing, financial, manufacturing, purchasing, and human resource strategies in each life cycle stage.
However, you must remember that a product life cycle even under normal conditions, to all practical intents and purposes often do not exist. Dhalla & Yuspeh in 1976 criticizes the product life cycles states that:
…clearly, the PLC (Product Life Cycle) is a dependent variable which is determined by market actions; it is not an independent variable to which companies should adapt their marketing programs. Marketing management itself can alter the shape and duration of a brand’s life cycle.
So, the life cycle may be useful as a description, but not as a PREDICTOR; and usually should be firmly under the control of the marketer. The important point is that in many markets, that product or brand life cycle is significantly longer than the planning cycle of the organizations involved.
For more about the product life cycle visit: http://www.samcarrara.com/marketing/product-life-cycle-overview/
The Product Journey,