Get a life (cycle)! a practical guide for your emerging product

Updated: Jan 18


We have previously discussed the importance of your marketing mix to your brands' success on this blog. To dive deeper into this subject, we will firstly zero in on your product strategy. Like humans, your product has a life cycle. One that can be punctuated with highs and lows but regardless of product or service category follows the same pattern. The life cycle has four stages all with their specificities that require a different approach. If you're interested in finding out more about the life cycle of the product you’re trying to devise or want to try and identify what stage of the life cycle your current product is in, then just keep reading.

So, what are the four stages?

Photo: Bonsai at Mount Coot-tha Botanical Gardens, Brisbane, Australia (2019). Ficus benjamina Weeping Fig Est. 1971

The four stages of the product life cycle: 1. The Introductory Stage aka “Ooh it’s shiny!” 2. The Growth Stage aka “I’m a big girl/boy now.” 3. The Maturity Stage aka “I’m too old for this nonsense.” 4. The Decline Stage aka “It’s all over red rover.”

The Introductory Stage

“There are two great days in a person’s life – the day we are born and the day we discover why.” – William Barclay

This is the stage where you are launching a new product or service onto the market. This is the research and development phase where profits are scarce or non-existent. You’re going to be modifying and re-modifying your product or service offer so you’ll be having a Goldilocks moment trying to get it “just right” in this stage. You’ll be spending a lot of time and effort to get your product in front of the eyes of your target demographic. Your efforts will be about increasing awareness about your product, service, brand. There isn’t much competition at this stage.

The Growth Stage

“Let me tell you the secret that has led to my goal. My strength lies solely in my tenacity.” – Louis Pasteur

This the stage where you start seeing profits and they are steadily growing. You’re still going to be modifying your product and might even consider expanding your product line or selection of services. This is the stage where your efforts go into building good relationships with your customers. You want them to stay, stay loyal and be there for the long-run. Branding is important in this stage because consumers know who you are and you want their impressions to be positive ones. There are a lot more competitors in this stage of the life cycle.

The Maturity Stage

“To make mistakes is human; to stumble is commonplace; to be able to laugh at yourself is maturity.” – William Arthur Ward

This is the stage where you still are seeing profits, but they are coming in at a slower rate. This is the longest stage in the product life cycle. In this stage, you have a considerable selection of products or services in your arsenal. You’re not trying to innovate or modify your products or services any longer. In this stage, your goal is maintaining the customers you’ve acquired and trying to stay relevant. Your marketing efforts will be at their most intense in this stage. In this stage, the prices for your products or services will be lower than in earlier stages.

The Decline Stage

“Even in decline, a virtuous man increases the beauty of his behaviour. A burning stick, though turned to the ground, has its flame drawn upwards.” – Saskya Pandita

This is the last stage and when and how it occurs depends on a variety of factors. Trendy or gimmicky products will usually reach this stage much more quickly. Consumers may get tired of using the trendy product or service or they might find a product that serves a similar purpose but in a better way. In this stage you will see products being discontinued, services being eliminated, you will hear less and less about the product, service or brand and a multitude of sales will occur.

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So, we’ve dived deeper into the subject of your product strategy by looking at the product life cycle. We discussed the four stages (introductory, growth, maturity and decline) all with their specificities that require a different approach. I hope this post has helped you to gain knowledge about the life cycle of the product you’re trying to devise or identifying what stage of the life cycle your current product is in.

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