What Is A Product Life Cycle? (Definition and Examples)

Should you work in gross sales and advertising and marketing, realizing in regards to the Product Life Cycle mannequin is nearly obligatory. The mannequin describes the phases a product goes by means of in its journey from creation to discontinuation.

Why do you must know this?

As a result of it helps you perceive why some merchandise are solely in style for a couple of years and others by no means lose enchantment. Merchandise in several phases of the cycle additionally demand completely different advertising and marketing methods, be that for bodily merchandise or for providers.

Perceive the Product Life Cycle and also you’ll be capable of maintain merchandise contemporary and related for longer. You’ll be capable of stave off decline, guaranteeing your merchandise generate as a lot income as doable.

On this article, we’ll provide help to perceive the cycle, its phases, examples, and make use of this idea. So be certain that to learn this text till the tip!

What Is the Product Life Cycle?

The Product Life Cycle is a administration software that makes it doable to research how a product behaves from its growth to its withdrawal from the market. It covers each stage of development, from launch by means of to adoption, and gross sales maturity.

It is sort of a product journey, or to consult with a extra well-known instance in advertising and marketing, the shopper journey.

The thoughts behind this idea is Theodore Levitt, a German economist who lived in the US and labored on the celebrated Harvard Enterprise College.

Levitt proposed a five-stage mannequin that he named the Product Life Cycle.

The phases are growth, introduction, development, maturity, and decline.

Earlier than I clarify every of them, it’s fascinating to grasp why Levitt thought defining this mannequin could be helpful.

Throughout his analysis, he found one thing that appears apparent however hadn’t been mapped till then: the traits of a product change quite a bit throughout its life cycle.

All of the methods surrounding a product want to think about the particular points and traits of every of those phases.

This is applicable to gross sales and advertising and marketing, but in addition to product growth and decision-making within the administration sphere.

For instance, when is the precise second to speculate so a product explodes out there?

When is it time to step on the brakes and perhaps even substitute an merchandise that was very profitable with one thing new?

These are the questions you possibly can reply with a Product Life Cycle evaluation.

A Be aware on Product Life Cycle Levels

Earlier than I describe every of the Product Life Growth Cycle phases under, it’s essential to notice that some definitions have completely different numbers of phases. Some have 4 and ignore the event section. Others have six and embrace a saturation section. Levitt’s authentic diagram has 4 phases, however I’m going so as to add an introduction section between his growth and development phases.

That’s as a result of there are tons of of merchandise which have completed a growth section and been launched to market, however by no means catch on and begin rising. When they’re first launched to the market, some merchandise — notably progressive ones — want very particular advertising and marketing methods to assist them attain the expansion stage. Ignoring this truth could hamper your product advertising and marketing efforts.

The 5 Levels of the Product Life Cycle

A chart showing the four stages of product lifecycle.
A chart showing the four stages of product life cycle, highlighting the maturity stage.

It’s time to discover extra deeply the Product Life Cycle mannequin.

Now that we all know the phases, we’ll the traits of every of them, and likewise the most effective practices to achieve your marketing goals.

1. Growth Part of the Product Life Cycle

Product growth is at all times a leap into the unknown. Firms can spend thousands and thousands of {dollars} on product analysis and growth, however there’s no assure the product launch will probably be profitable.

At this stage, firms are spending cash on the product with out corresponding income. Proposals are made, checks carried out, hypotheses validated, and adjustments applied.

This stage is of course built-in into the method of startup firms however is just not restricted to them. For instance, an car producer received’t launch a brand new automotive with out first having an intensive undertaking growth section. The one distinction is that established firms are capable of fund this section from income generated by different merchandise.

To provide you a real-life instance, let’s take a look at the gathering of leggings for dogs that Walkee Paws launched in 2018.

A dog wearing leggings from Walkee Paws.

Given the progressive nature of this product, we are able to think about that this launch was preceded by cautious planning and analysis, which resulted within the form of the items, the fabric used, and the patterns chosen.

There may have been some preliminary promotional efforts, too. When a product is in growth, it doesn’t require intensive gross sales efforts, however some degree of promotion could also be required if the product is new.

Think about the success potential of a advertising and marketing marketing campaign from Walkee Paws saying this novelty to devoted canine lovers. It might contain teasing posts on social networks, producing curiosity, and inspiring engagement. There may be press releases, billboards, and even interactive campaigns on the streets.

The very fact is that the corporate should contemplate all this even through the growth stage.

2. Introduction Part of the Product Growth Life Cycle

After you have created a product and it’s prepared for launch, you progress into the introduction section of the Product Life Cycle.

Launching a brand new product is a big advertising and marketing endeavor. You’ll have to carve out a goal market and make investments considerably to succeed in them with broad consciousness campaigns. TV adverts are a well-liked alternative at this stage. You solely have to activate a TV for a couple of minutes to see adverts for a brand new taste of soda, a special bike mannequin, and a smartphone that guarantees new and superior options.

It’s no accident that this stage of the Product Growth Life Cycle is the one which calls for essentially the most advertising and marketing funding from the corporate. In truth, it isn’t unusual to be within the pink at this stage, even when gross sales are already trickling in. Prices will probably be even bigger if you’re the primary firm bringing a brand new product to market. First movers could have a bonus, however they pay for it financially. It’s why many firms wait till a market has already been established earlier than launching a brand new product.

Cut back prices by defining the target audience and persona that represents the best buyer profile on your merchandise.

This train makes it doable to optimize your advertising and marketing investments, utilizing the precise platforms to convey the most effective message and attain the precise viewers you need.

It’s also possible to use inbound advertising and marketing to succeed in early adopters.

3. Progress Part of the Product Life Cycle

The subsequent stage is the expansion stage. By now, gross sales of your product ought to be hovering and it’ll begin changing into a longtime product out there.

After all, your success will entice opponents. The pace at which opponents react will rely available on the market you will have entered. In a crowded market, opponents will react quick. If the market is uncrowded, nonetheless, you could possibly proceed to develop with out a lot competitors.

Inevitably, nonetheless, you’ll need to proceed investing closely in advertising and marketing to proceed development.

Despite the fact that you’re experiencing development, many firms nonetheless fail at this stage and their merchandise’ gross sales decline with out having ever skilled maturity.

You may keep in mind a beer model that made enjoyable TV adverts with a brief and chubby actor with a mustache because the protagonist. For a very long time, it was one of many main manufacturers, and the ads generated feedback on the one social community in existence again then: word-of-mouth. The product remains to be out there, and there’s no information of adjustments to its method, but it surely was swallowed by the robust competitors within the business.

So the lesson is evident: if a product is within the development stage, you will need to have a technique to maintain it there at the same time as new opponents begin combating for its viewers.

4. Maturity Part of the Product Life Cycle

Maturity is the height and the best level of the cycle. It’s when the product reaches its most potential and gross sales and begins to stabilize. That doesn’t imply your gross sales received’t develop, you simply received’t expertise the identical fast ranges of development as earlier than.

That will sound disappointing, however this stage comes with loads of advantages. You should have undoubtedly grow to be rather more environment friendly, which can result in decreased manufacturing prices. It’s also possible to spend much less on advertising and marketing since you will have a longtime market.

The problem at this stage is to take care of good outcomes and proceed to beat your opponents.

There isn’t a easy method to make this occur, but it surely’s essential you’re taking motion. All of the well-known manufacturers you possibly can consider are the place they’re as we speak as a result of they invested on this stage.

For instance, Coca-Cola doesn’t cease promoting despite the fact that it “doesn’t depend upon advertising and marketing.” The corporate understands that manufacturers aren’t perpetually, being topic to market instabilities and behavioral adjustments within the viewers.

5. Decline Part of the Product Life Cycle

Finally, even essentially the most established merchandise see their income dry up and recognition wane. It’s fascinating to think about the tip of an organization like Coca-Cola, an organization with over 100 years of existence and a lot monetary success.

However even Coca-Cola will finish in the future. Perhaps not the corporate, maybe, however its foremost product. This may take 100, 200, and even 1000 years. It’s not possible to foretell. However each product reaches the tip and concludes its life cycle.

When that occurs, the corporate should acknowledge the painful reality proven in its performance indicators and take certainly one of a number of choices. You’ll be able to select to discontinue the product, discover a new use for it, promote the product or firm, or faucet into a brand new market by creating a brand new product.

Rigorously weigh the prices and advantages related to every choice. There isn’t a disgrace in retiring a product, particularly if your organization is already investing in new, progressive merchandise to launch.

Why It’s Necessary to Perceive the Product Life Cycle

Should you’ve made it this far, you hopefully perceive the idea of the Product Growth Life Cycle and the traits of every of its phases. You also needs to perceive why it’s essential to use this mannequin to what you are promoting.

To remove any questions, listed here are the primary benefits and advantages of what adherence to the mannequin can do:

  • permit decision-making with higher assist
  • optimize advertising and marketing investments
  • qualify gross sales efforts
  • provide extra management over outcomes
  • give higher long-term strategic planning
  • provide higher group and course of administration
  • present extra longevity for merchandise
  • give extra applicable preparation to face competitors
  • main the market turns into a possible aim

What Components Have an effect on the Product Life Cycle?

There are a number of issues in your energy you are able to do to affect how your product strikes by means of the product life cycle. Sadly, there are additionally a number of issues you possibly can’t management that may affect how your product performs.

Market Competitiveness

Aggressive markets will be very onerous to enter and should imply your product struggles to get out of the introduction section. Obstacles to entry play a job. Whereas it could be tougher to enter a market with excessive boundaries to entry, your product will in all probability have a protracted life cycle if it turns into established. The identical will not be true for markets with low boundaries to entry that make it simpler for opponents to repeat your product.

Financial Forces

Generally the world will transpire to work in opposition to your product. A recession or world pandemic can lower a cycle quick. It might probably additionally introduce fast adjustments in shopper habits that may affect your product’s life.

Adjustments in Expertise

Fast adjustments in know-how can drastically shorten the product life cycle — particularly should you’re unable to adapt. Simply take a look at how the web and video streaming destroyed Blockbuster.

There’s not a lot you are able to do if an individual or firm invents a brand new know-how or a dramatically higher means of doing one thing. All you are able to do is react as greatest you possibly can.

H​​ow to Use the Product Life Cycle to Enhance Your Advertising Methods and Prolong Your Product’s Life

Step one to utilizing the Product Life Cycle to enhance your marketing strategy is to grasp what stage you’re in. By understanding every stage of the cycle and evaluating them along with your product’s efficiency, you possibly can precisely establish the place your product lies.

Set up Authority Early

Establishing authority is vital through the introduction section. Whether or not you’re positioning your product as a less expensive, more practical, or extra environmentally-friendly various, it’s key to get this throughout in your messaging. The higher you are able to do this, the faster you possibly can attain the expansion section and the longer you must keep there.

Tailor Your Pricing Technique

Your pricing technique ought to be fluid and tailor-made to the particular a part of the life cycle your product sits in. For instance, you could need to provide decrease costs within the early phases, increase costs through the development and maturity phases, after which decrease costs once more through the decline.

Tailoring your pricing could assist your product proceed to develop. For instance, reductions are an effective way to increase the longevity of a product and encourage much more individuals to purchase it.

Introduce New Options

Merchandise that don’t innovate by introducing new options received’t continue to grow for lengthy. Quickly the market will saturate and they’re going to decline. Figuring out this, you must make investments closely in new options through the development and maturity phases of the product lifecycle. In doing so, you possibly can expertise fast development another time.

The iPhone is a good instance of this. Continuous funding in digicam high quality, display screen measurement, and even the App Retailer has allowed the product to continue to grow. Even the way in which Apple has developed the positioning of the iPhone has led to sustained development. By specializing in privateness, one thing that hasn’t modified the bodily options of the product in any respect, Apple has been capable of carve out a brand new market.

What Are the Limitations of the Product Life Cycle?

The most important criticism of the product life cycle is that it doesn’t predict how lengthy every stage lasts. Consequently, you possibly can’t use the completely different phases to forecast gross sales with any nice accuracy.

What’s extra, some merchandise take considerably longer to say no than others.

Lastly, product life cycle phases danger changing into one thing of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Anticipating that their merchandise could quickly decline, product managers could cease giving them their full consideration, thereby bringing about their decline.

Does the Product Life Cycle Solely Apply to Merchandise?

That is an fascinating query in regards to the mannequin.

On one hand, the concept that the cycle works higher for bodily merchandise is right contemplating its traits. Then again, it’s doable to be artistic and take into consideration variations of the mannequin.

Let’s take a big firm with subsidiaries in several cities for example.

Every certainly one of these models could also be thought of a product when making use of the Product Growth Life Cycle mannequin; all you need to do is analyze every one’s efficiency individually.

One other instance is an organization with many manufacturers, every with its personal merchandise.

To know this higher, check out the Procter & Gamble website, the place you will notice that the corporate has a number of energetic manufacturers within the USA market.

The homepage of Proctor & Gamble.

Wherein stage of the cycle is every of those manufacturers? Are they planning new manufacturers which are presently within the growth stage?

To conclude, let’s take a look at one other instance.

May providers substitute merchandise within the mannequin proposed by Theodore Levitt?

Relying on the exercise the corporate performs, that is completely doable. Let’s take into consideration a house renovation firm, for instance.

It might provide an awesome number of development providers, corresponding to putting in flooring and tiles, portray, plastering, offering electrical and hydraulic works, masonry, and extra.

When utilizing the Product Life Cycle methodology, you possibly can observe the life cycle of every of those providers to evaluate the kind of funding every of them requires and the chances for returns in every case.

So no, the Product Life Cycle doesn’t simply apply to bodily merchandise.

Sensible Examples

How does the Product Life Cycle work in observe?

We’re going to check out two cool examples to search out out: Havaianas and Coca-Cola.

The Product Life Cycle of Havaianas

The Havaianas logo.
  • Growth: the normal flip-flops had been impressed by Japanese sandals fabricated from wooden or straw; in Brazil, rubber was chosen as the fabric as a result of it was believed to have essentially the most acceptance with the viewers.
  • Introduction: intentionally or not, its introduction out there was an awesome success with lessons C, D, and E.
  • Progress: Havaianas flip-flops had been within the development stage for many of their existence, finally dominating over 90% of the marketplace for flip-flops.
  • Maturity: maturity solely got here within the Nineteen Nineties, with new product design aimed toward a special viewers, and nice advertising and marketing funding, particularly with the now-classic TV adverts that had been enjoyable and at all times starred well-known actors.
  • Decline: as much as this second, there are not any indicators that Havaianas flip-flops could undergo this stage within the quick time period.

The Product Life Cycle of Coca Cola

The Coca Cola logo.
  • Growth: little or no is understood in regards to the growth of Coca-Cola and the way they created the mysterious method.
  • Introduction: by 1886, the yr of its basis, the model already appeared to have the precise undertaking.
  • Progress: lower than ten years after its launch, Coca-Cola was already consumed in all U.S. states.
  • Maturity: it’s not possible to say precisely when the model reached maturity, but it surely’s secure to say that it has spent most of its historical past till now on this stage.
  • Decline: since 2012, the web working income of Coca-Cola has fluctuated in direction of reducing; whereas a small lower is inside what’s anticipated for the maturity stage, investments in advertising and marketing and new merchandise should proceed.

Product Life Cycle Vs. BCG Matrix

A product is born, grows, declines, and dies. Isn’t this mannequin the identical as that of the BCG Matrix? Should you considered that, you had been very astute.

The BCG Matrix is one other wonderful administration software, created by the Boston Consulting Group (the mannequin is known as after their initials).

The BCG Matrix is similar to the Product Life Cycle, although there are some variations.

First, there are 4 as an alternative of 5 phases: Query Mark, Star, Money Cow, and Canine.

Second: these curious names relate to particular traits of the stage wherein the product is, not essentially analyzing your complete life cycle.

Are you confused? I’ll clarify.

Check out the desk under:

An example of the BCG Matrix from the Boston Consulting Group.

Query marks are new merchandise that don’t have a market but however have nice potential for development.

Stars, because the title signifies, are on the prime: they generate good income.

Money cows are the way forward for stars: their efficiency has peaked, however their decline is anticipated.

And canines are an issue: merchandise on the finish of the road, that not promote properly and are unlikely to get better their area.

Generally, query marks and stars demand advertising and marketing funding, money cows not want funding and canines is not going to get better even with funding.


What’s the Product Life Cycle?

The Product Life Cycle course of a product goes by means of from ideation by means of to being faraway from the cabinets.

What are the Levels of the Product Life Cycle?

There are 5 core phases within the Product Life Cycle: growth, introduction, development, maturity, decline. It’s essential to notice that some explanations will emit the event section to depart 4 phases. Others will embrace a saturation section for a complete of six. Theodore Levitt’s preliminary diagram confirmed 4 phases, however we expect it’s essential to incorporate a growth section given this stage’s distinctive challenges and the truth that some merchandise by no means get launched to market.

Why is Understanding the Product Life Cycle Necessary?

Every stage of the method requires completely different methods and expectations. Figuring out the place your product is within the life cycle can assist you efficiently promote it.


By now, you must perceive the Product Life Cycle and the traits of every of its 5 phases. You additionally realized suggestions for creating an applicable technique for every of them and use the product life cycle to affect your choices — even should you’re a digital marketer and also you aren’t promoting bodily items.

Should you want digital marketing assist all through any of the phases of the Product Life Cycle mannequin, our agency can assist.

Now it’s time to dedicate your self to reaching maturity and increasing it for so long as doable.

Talking of which, in what stage is your foremost product? Depart a remark and share the article!

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