The Marketing Mix Series – Product
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One of the most important parts of your business are the products and/or services you will offer to your clients.

When promoting, you should always include a clear description of your products and/or service, its features and most importantly its benefits. There is a difference between features and benefits of a product or service and it is important to learn to know the difference as one of these is what “sells” a product, the other one simply describes attributes of it. Click here to learn more about product features and benefits to make your product or service desirable to potential buyers and users in the Marketing Mix session focused on Promotion (include link).

The Product Life Cycle

 

There are many different models to be found that describe the product life cycle, some consisting of four, and others of five or six stages, and obviously the real world is much more complex. For this post, I will keep it pretty simple and basic.

The Basic Product Life Cycle Stages include

1. Product Development

2. Introduction

3. Growth

4. Maturity

5. Decline

 

Before you can start with product development, you will first have to conduct extensive research, however since the product is not yet in existence, this stage is not officially part of the product life cycle.

During the product development stage, the focus is set on developing products and services and you incur product development costs without producing any income yet.

The objective during the introduction stage is to raise awareness of your brand and products or service and get people interested and excited about your product via various methods of marketing. You will have high marketing costs at this stage and low sales as the strategy is to get people to talk about the product and review it, by offering free samples, for example.

During the growth stage, your sales will increase due to high product awareness at this point. The goal is to reach a high product acceptance and brand preference by emphasizing the product’s or brand’s unique selling proposition. Your advertising costs will be moderate, but due to high sales, your return on investment will grow and reach its maximum.

After the initial excitement of the product and high sales, your product will enter the maturity stage, when sales will slow down and you will have to focus on potential product improvements to start over again in the introduction and/or growth stage.

          Finally, once you have exhausted all of your resources to improve your product and produce any further sales, you will enter the decline stage. At this point, others have overcome to the barriers to entry and are now your competitors. When your product enters the decline stage, you will have to decide, whether you might consider rebranding, a product extension of a new product line.