Management of the Product’s Lifecycle
Once a product is released to the market, it starts a path, with a significant amount of stages, until it needs to be either put down or changed. Those stages are: Introduction, Growth, Maturity, and Decline, and they need to be observed and managed by a Product Manager, a person who knows the market flows and how that could impact the product life cycle development.
Why is it essential to identify which stage of the graph your product is? So you know where you need to invest to keep that product current in this ever-changing market.
The Stages of the Product’s Lifecycle
Although most experts agree that there are four stages in a product’s lifecycle, others claim that the Development Stage, before introducing the product to the market, is also paramount in the product’s life, as here is where most of the research, test, and market strategies are done.
Stage 1: Introduction
This stage starts once the product hits the market. It’s the most crucial moment at the product’s life and, due to that, an incredible amount of energy is needed: all products start somewhere, it might be a completely new and revolutionary idea what you’re putting out in the market, or it might be a spinoff of something already in use. But the truth is, the audience doesn’t know your product, so at this stage is when you need to put effort into reaching your audience and creating awareness.
It might be the most expensive stage, as the goal here is not to generate profit, but to show your product to the world.
Stage 2: Growth
When the product reaches stage number two, the sales start to kick off, that’s why it’s called Growth: the market already knows your product, so you begin to see profit and market share.
This stage is also known for hard advertising and marketing input, where most of the money might go. As the company has had feedback and the first opinions on the product, they understand what the messages that go better with what they want to sell are. It’s crucial that your campaigns are focused on your ideal client.
The market fight to stay competitive is real at this stage. The Product Manager needs to be aware of all trends to set the right price and promotions to not lose track of the market demands.
Stage 3: Maturity
Depending on how your product performs in the introduction and growth stage, it may spend quite some time at the Maturity Stage. Some strategist agree that to be here is not as exciting as the previous stage, but to reach the Maturity stage is already a success.
The challenge here is not for the advertising and reaching your ideal customer, but to stay relevant. Your early adopters already have your product, you have made high profit, and now you need to stay in the game, while your competition had time to adapt their product to claim their market share back.
Stage 4: Decline
Everything that rises falls. Your product won’t be an exception. Either due to the competition, the market changes, or outdated features, the product is no longer relevant: sales drop, users start to abandon the product as well. To stay competitive, you will have to improve your product.
Ideally, if the Product Manager has been paying attention to the product’s lifecycle should, between Maturity and Decline stage, prepare a spin-off or include improvements on the same product, to stay relevant.