The Product Life Cycle (PLC) and Strategies at different stages

Advertising strategies change with the change in stages of a product life. i.e. PLC This article focuses on changes in way of advertising  when PLC stages changes.

Every product goes through a series of stages, namely the introduction, growth, maturity, decline.

After a period of development it is introduced or launched into the market; it gains more and more customers as it grows; eventually the market stabilises and the product becomes mature; then after a period of time the product is overtaken by development and the introduction of superior competitors, it goes into decline and is eventually withdrawn. However, most products fail in the introduction phase. Others have very cyclical maturity phases where declines see the product promoted to regain customers.

Thus in this case, a suitable advertising and promotion campaign is required to be identified and followed.

Strategies for the differing stages of the PLC

Introduction stage of PLC

The need for immediate profit is not a pressure. The product is promoted to create awareness. If the product has no or few competitors, a skimming price strategy is employed. Limited numbers of product are available in few channels of distribution. Advertising differentiates the product.

Print ad of a Printer giving details about its specifications

Growth stage of PLC

Competitors are attracted into the market with very similar offerings. Products become more profitable and companies form alliances, joint ventures and take each other over. Advertising spend is high and focuses upon building brand. Market share tends to stabilise. Advertising establishes participation with the marketplace.

Maturity stage of PLC

Those products that survive the earlier stages tend to spend longest in this phase. Sales grow at a decreasing rate and then stabilise. Producers attempt to differentiate products and brands are key to this. Price wars and intense competition occur. At this point the market reaches saturation. Producers begin to leave the market due to poor margins. Promotion becomes more widespread and use a greater variety of media. Advertising puts price ahead of the competition.

Decline stage of PLC

At this point there is a downturn in the market. For example more innovative products are introduced or consumer tastes have changed. There is intense price-cutting and many more products are withdrawn from the market. Profits can be improved by reducing marketing spend and cost cutting. Defensive advertising or for revitalization.

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