Final Paper Marketing encompasses the complex cycle of every stage of a product, from conception to the final sale and everything in between. Marketers are challenged with identifying the consumers needs/wants and managing the process to meet those needs. Every product a marketer develops goes through four stages in its life, The Product Life Cycle. Each stage of the product life cycle (Introduction, Growth, Maturity, and Decline) have unique characteristics that a marketer faces as they create utility and try to maintain or grow their market share.
Through each stage advertising is critical and marketers try to inform, persuade and remind consumers about their product. The difference is the approach and focus of the advertising. Every product that comes to market enters into the Introduction Stage. This is the stage where consumers are first introduced to the product. “During the introductory stage of the product life cycle, a firm works to stimulate demand for the new market entry. ” (Boone & Kurtz, 2006, p. 371) A marketer must connect with consumers to create a market for the new product. Every year hundreds of new products enter the introductory stage.
Currently a product that is just beginning to take hold is high-definition televisions (HDTVs). HDTVs broadcast pictures with increased clarity and give the viewer (consumer) options on camera angles and additional information. Currently, “Yankee Group estimates that 15 percent of American households now own (a HDTV), with Forrester estimating 10 percent at most. ” (Crawford, 2005) During the introductory stage, marketers are trying to introduce the product to consumers. One of the ways marketers succeed is in offering promotions or discounts to distributors to get the product in the marketplace.
Most of the advertising focuses on informing the public about the new product. While information is key, advertisers also try to persuade consumers to purchase the product and often times remind consumers where they can find the product. The Introductory stage is where all products start. It is in this early stage that products are refined based on consumer and distribution feedback. Often times the numbers of marketers are minimal in the introductory stage as the market is being developed. As a product finds its market and begins to gain acceptance, it moves into the Growth Stage of the product life cycle.
The growth stage is where a product sees its sales volumes increase dramatically. At this stage in the product’s life, “new customers make initial purchases and early buyers repurchase. ” (Boone & Kurtz, 2006, p. 372) Early marketers find increased competition as their competitors enter the product space to share in the profits. Satellite television has entered into the growth market with the advent of the small dish. Early satellite television was mainly limited to rural areas that were inaccessible to cable television. The dishes were large and unattractive.
As the technology has advances and the satellite dish has shrunk to less then twenty-four inches, consumers have rushed to the alternative to cable television. Satellite television marketers are continuing to refine their product in this growth stage. Recently, the top two providers of satellite television signed deals to provide affordable high-speed internet service. “For satellite-TV providers, the service is another way to offer a full line of products. ” (AP, 2006) The growth stage is where marketers move from a heavy focus on information in advertising to a more persuasive approach.
The persuasive approach allows the marketers to differentiate from competitors and encourage individuals to not be left behind. If the product space attracts multiple marketers, pricing, features and other differentiators are used in the advertising to help marketers gain or maintain market share. The Growth Stage of the product life cycle is complex and changing. Marketers rely on word-of-mouth, mass advertising and falling prices to sustain the momentum and interest in the product. The goal of the growth stage is to get reluctant buyers to buy and current customers to repurchase.
As a product matures and growth stabilizes, the product moves in the Maturity Stage. Sales start to plateau and supply exceeds demand for the first time in the products life cycle. Competing marketers have flooded the field and profits begin to become depressed. All of these factors create pressure on marketers to continue their brands sustainability. Carbonated soft drinks are a very mature product. According to the American Beverage Association (ABA) the beginnings of the modern soda started in the 1830’s. (ABA, 2006) The ABA estimates that there are over 450 brands in the product space.
The number of brands creates fierce competition for American’s 65 billion in annual purchases. Adverting in the mature stage of a product’s life is all about increasing purchases, differentiating your brand and finding new uses or markets for the product. In the soft drink space marketers try celebrity endorsements and product differentiation. 7-UP is “the un-cola”, trying to draw its distinction among more popular cola brands. Whatever approach the marketer takes in advertising, the goal is to extend the maturity stage and maintain profits for as long as possible.
A product in the mature stage of the product life cycle does not indicate imminent demise. As illustrated above, soft drinks continue to command consumer’s dollars. Marketers will often look to new markets and changes in the product to extend the life of the product. One of the largest struggles for mature products is maintaining profits as competition drives down prices. As the product leaves maturity it enters the Decline Stage in the Product life cycle. A products decline is most often linked to new technologies. Marketers focus on reminding the remaining customers in the market that they are there for the consumer’s needs.
Sales decline, profits decline and the product space eventually looses money. VCRs are a product on the decline in the United States. With the advance of DVDs and the reduction in price of DVRs, VCRs are loosing shelf space and market share. Marketers often times search for new markets as products decline in their existing markets. So while the United States and Europe may transition to a new technology, emerging economies may embrace the “older” and cheaper technology, thus extending the products life. Advertising a product in the stage of decline focuses on reminding the remaining consumer base the product still exists.