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Understanding Your Product’s Life Cycle

The debut and sale of a new product is a rather involved process that requires the fine-tuning of many moving parts. From its first introduction on the market to its final days on the retail shelves, a product will undergo many ups and downs. This is what’s referred to as the product’s life cycle. The life cycle will vary depending on consumer perceptions of the product as well as the overall success of the item.

The duration of the life cycle will vary, but all products undergo the same four cycle stages. This guide provides a deeper understanding of your product’s life cycle as well as the most important considerations at each stage in the cycle.

Introduction

The introduction phase refers to the first few weeks that your product is on the market. Additionally, it may also refer to the few weeks leading up to your product’s launch, in which marketing, advertisement, and outreach efforts reach their peak. Marketing is of the utmost importance during this phase. After all, without ample advertising, customers will never know your product is ready to hit the shelves, and the entire campaign will likely crumble before it even begins.

Before the official launch of the product, be sure to put forth ample promotional materials regarding its premiere. You may also want to conduct preliminary focus groups or surveys to gauge initial reactions of the product before its official release. Be sure to keep up these marketing efforts in the first few weeks after the product hits retail shelves as well. This will drive interest in the product and lead to more significant sales in the long run.

Growth and maturity

As knowledge of the product becomes more widespread, it begins to reach its most profitable stage. During the growth phase, you can scale back your marketing strategy a bit. This may seem backwards, but because you’ll have so many customers buying and talking about your product, word of mouth marketing will work in your favor. As a result, you won’t need to focus as much on structured marketing strategies.

Unfortunately, your product’s popularity will only grow so high, and it will eventually reach the maturity phase. This is when product sales are at their peak. During this phase, the cost of producing and marketing the product will begin to decline. Conversely, competition surrounding your product will likely begin to grow, so it’s important that you try to maintain your competitive edge during this time.

Decline

After it hits maturity, every product will inevitably enter a period of decline. This is an unfortunate yet necessary aspect of understanding your product’s life cycle. During this period of decline, direct sales and interest in your product will begin to decrease. Additional marketing efforts are often ineffective at this stage, so you should instead direct your focus toward mitigating loss. At this stage, you must consider the best methods for removing the unsold product from your inventory, whether that means selling them to a liquidator, upcycling them, or utilizing an off-spec product destruction service.

During the final stages of your product’s life, you should analyze what worked well and what elements you could have improved throughout the entire process. This will enable you to make concrete changes for the better as you look toward the future and prepare to debut your next great product.

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