How to extend the Product Life Cycle

An organization with a range of products is likely to have them at different stages of the life cycle. It needs to recognize this because of the implications for the rest of the marketing mix. Also, because it is possible to extend the life of an established product beyond the maturity stage by means of an extension strategy. This needs to be based on carefully planned marketing and production decisions and could involve strategies for any or all of the following.

  • More frequent use of the product eg. Sales of Mars confectionery products in the summer were increased by ‘Cool Em’ in the fridge advertising; frozen turkeys are now sold throughout the year and not just at Christmas.

  • Finding new uses or markets for the product eg. Johnsons baby powder promoted to adults; electric shavers for ladies; exporting Scotch Whisky; shampoo for different hair types.

  • Modifying the product to retain its consumer appeal. This may involve changing its physical appearance, image or ingredients and relaunching it in new packaging on a regular basis, often with heavy promotional expenditure. For example, new styling or accessories such as central locking or electronic windows on cars, introducing new shoes and clothes as existing ones go out of fashion.

  • Technical developments for example, new packaging techniques can also bring about new market opportunities like the use of plastic bottles and wax cartons for milk, fruit juices and wine; ring-pull cans for beers and soft drinks. Likewise, the growth in the home freezer market and consequently frozen food means that many products such as meats can now be sold both fresh and frozen, whilst ice cream can be sold in larger quantities.

  • Wider product range. It may also be possible for a firm to introduce associated products or variations to its present range.

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