What Is the Role of Product Life Cycle in Marketing?

Sheri Cyprus

The role of the product life cycle in marketing is mainly one of forecasting sales. The different stages of product life cycles from introduction to maturity are inevitable and typically correspond with foreseeable increases and decreases in revenue. In this way, the product life cycle factors allow for business strategies to be planned in concert with the marketing mix to maximize the brand's potential during each stage.

Businessman giving a thumbs-up
Businessman giving a thumbs-up

For example, in the earliest stage of the cycle, the product isn't well-known to its target market, so the promotion part of the marketing mix requires a strong emphasis. The entire marketing mix of "product, price, place or distribution and promotion" is then strategically used to create awareness and desirability with the target audience. If the introductory phase of the product life cycle in marketing isn't handled effectively, the item may fail to interest or capture the attention of its consumer base. Successful product life cycle management is crucial in all stages, but it's especially important to create enough brand awareness when new items are introduced into the market.

After a successful introductory phase in the product life cycle in marketing, sales will typically begin to increase. If they don't, marketers are likely to spend some time on product development as well as try other promotional strategies. This growth stage of the product life cycle in marketing is often a long one with much emphasis place on creating a strong branding message. For instance, if a cereal product isn't selling as well as expected, market research may be done to try to discover how the item could be better marketed to appeal to the needs and desires of its target consumer. Marketers must pay much attention to the growth part of the product life cycle, as this will usually be the phase to bring in the most sales.

When the product has experienced its maximum growth through life cycle management strategies, it means over time the product has matured and new products in its category tend to reduce sales. The maturity stage of the product life cycle in marketing is the last part, when sales decrease. The amount of revenue decline experienced due to the product's maturity in the market depends on many factors, such as its relevancy to the target audience and the strength of competitors' products. Although the product may continue to be sold during the maturity stage and even still sell reasonably well, the amount of sales in this period tend to be much less than those in the earlier growth part of the marketing life cycle.

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Discussion Comments

I think it’s fascinating to watch the life cycle of a product increase or decrease because of the state of the economy. Are there any major products in particular that were either flops in the very beginning of their life cycle that are now extremely popular? And on the flip side, are there products that were amazingly popular at the beginning of their life cycle but have now dropped off in popularity because they are obsolete?

I, for one, think it would be neat to follow Coca-Cola’s product life cycle since it is the most popular soft drink and it continues to stay relevant.

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