Every product has a life cycle

“Lean” business models are on my radar and I’ve been reading some disturbing stuff. Probably the most disturbing is the notion that some of these folks are talking about a model where competition is not considered. What a mistake!

I think the root of this is grounded in the desire to establish a leadership position in the marketplace. Leadership brands grow the market, encourage trial, and largely speak to an emotional benefit. Challenger brands are about market share, targeting existing users, and offering a product or attribute based benefit. Both leadership and challenger brands are dependent on deep contextual understanding (which includes competition).

Here’s a model I use in my Market Research class which shares the product life cyle alongside tips for communication efforts:

Introduction– develop awareness of product benefits, gain trail by early adopters, to change consumers from existing alternatives, pricing to recover initial costs, utilize exclusive or selective distribution

Growth– signified by the advent of competition. Objectives should be to establish or defend market position, establish a strong market identity, develop brand preference, enhance product features

Mature– sales have generally reached their peek. Objectives should be to maintain market share, maintain brand loyalty, consider the introduction of new products, potential cost cutting if commoditized

Decline– prepare to remove the product from the market, lower all marketing mix expenses, eliminate any items not producing direct profit, switch to new or different distribution structure and pricing structure