A product undergoes a life cycle which is very similar to the human life cycle. The concept of product life cycle (PLC) originated from the fact that a products sales volume and sales revenue follow a typical pattern.
The pattern can be hence divided in to five unequal phases. The product life cycle can be depicted in a chart and gives a curve which is divided into these five phases.
In this article we will deal with the topic why understanding your products life cycle can be very crucial for you as a marketer:
Understanding product life cycle is very important because every product can go through obsolescence when the need for the product disappears from the market. In its place may be people prefer cheaper and more convenient product with same benefits and having superior marketing strategy in place.
As a marketer you should always be aware of this fact. Other reasons why a marketer should constantly monitor the product life cycle stages is to pre plan the introduction of new product in a market or in prolonging the profitable stage of a product, or for meeting the competition and of course for long term decisions related to product investment.
One main point you should understand with regard to a product life cycle is that the life cycle of a product is related to a particular market. For different markets the life cycle changes. Hence we can also refer it as product market life cycle.
For example an old product in the USA can get a new life when it is introduced in the European market. So study your products as well as the market where they are placed, in detail. This means that you can revive an old and matured product in a new market. That definitely gives some hope to marketers.
Now let us consider the different life cycle stages the product passes through- Introduction or birth, growth, maturity, saturation and finally decline. Each stage the product passes through has its own set of characteristics affecting the product related decisions.
An interesting point we should note here is that, product life cycle some time can be a theoretical term for some products as they usually don’t follow it in reality. Some essential products never decline or reach saturation; they are always in the maturity stage because we human require them. Example of such products can be salt or sugar.