How to Extend a Product’s Life Cycle
At some point in a product’s life cycle, it reaches a maturity stage, wherein there is a slowdown on the rate of sales growth. This stage poses challenges to marketing management to extend the life cycle of the product and delay the stage of decline. There are many strategies that can be implemented to achieve this.
The company can elect to expand the market for its mature brand by working on increasing the number of brand users as well as the usage rate per user. Increasing the number of brand users can be achieved through:
1. Converting non-users: This strategy can be observed in Cebu Pacific, which clearly targets the middle class. Their ridiculously low fares communicate the message that really, “it’s time every Juan flies.”
2. Enter new market segments: The company may also opt to introduce the mature product to a new market segment. For example, baby powder may also be promoted to pre-teens, teenagers, and even to the adults.
3. Win competitor’s customers: This strategy is being implemented in the LPG industry. Non-users are allowed to purchase LPG of their brand using their current LPG tank.
Likewise, the usage rate per user can be increased through convincing the customers to:
1. Use the product on more occasions: The promotion of shampoos to be used on a daily basis is a clear illustration of this strategy.
2. Use more of the product on each occasion: Bear Brand’s campaign to “drink not just one, but two glasses of milk per day” obviously promotes increase in product usage.
3. Use the product in new ways: Example of this strategy would include promoting vinegar as an agent for household cleaning.
Marketers can also stimulate sales by modifying the products characteristics through:
1. Quality improvement: This strategy aims at increasing the product’s functional performance. Launching a “new and improved” version of a product may potentially prolong the product’s life cycle.
2. Feature improvement: A company may consider adding new features to the product. This is illustrated in the mobile phone industry, where new features are added to existing products and re-launched (e.g., Nokia’s N97 and N97i, among others).
3. Style improvement: This aims at increasing the product’s aesthetic appeal. For example, new car models with improvement in style are periodically introduced by car companies.
Marketing Program Modification
To extend a product’s life cycle, managers can also choose to modify other marketing program elements, including:
1. Price: Companies should evaluate whether implementation of price cuts/price increase could stimulate sales.
2. Distribution: Current distribution channels could be examined for consideration of potentially obtaining more support from existing outlets or penetrating more outlets.
3. Sales Promotion: Sales promotion strategies such as trade deals, discount coupons, rebates, etc. could also be implemented to stimulate sales.
4. Personal Selling: The number and quality of the sales force could also be changed as deemed necessary. Training of salespeople, their specialization, and even compensation should be evaluated and changed as well if needed.
5. Services: Companies can also provide better services to establish customer loyalty. For example, they can provide faster delivery, increased technical assistance, or offer more credit.