February 16th, 2010 by Joern Meissner
To understand how to best set prices, manager first must understand that all products go through four distinct periods in their life cycles: emerging, growth, mature, and decline.
Emerging products have just been released to the public; perhaps they’re even in trial form and only available to select customers. During the next period of growth, the products have entered in the market at full-force and with each passing period, sales continue to grow at a steady rate. This is different from emerging in that your product is now part of the everyday, standard business – not necessarily the newest product on the market anymore. Once your product enters the mature phase of its life cycle, the sales growth has evened out. A large portion of your customers already own your product and only come to you for problems or repairs. And finally, your product will enter into decline – it becomes obsolete (hopefully because your company has already put its replacement into the market) and its sales dwindle to a few stragglers who are behind the times or devoted fans of your product that simply don’t want an upgrade.
Each of these periods of the life cycle change how your product is viewed in the marketplace. Unfortunately, most sales teams are not equipped and don’t even realize when each of these periods happen and the effect they have on your product and pricing. As an executive, it is your duty to recognize the shift in life cycles and to guide your sales staff in pricing accordingly.
Most executives unfortunately don’t like to think of their products having any sort of cycle to them; they prefer to think of their products as entering the market and remaining in the same growth phase forever. This simply is not the case. While it is true that you continually want your profits to grow, a single product cannot manage growth indefinitely. It is up to the executives to watch for signs that a product is entering a maturity phase, or even its decline phase, and react. New products should enter the market, starting new emerging and growth phases for your company. Without adherence to this law of entropy in business, your company will suffer.
A good example of this is the yearly nature of car manufacturers, or the ever-changing nature of Apple’s iPods. The moment one version of the iPod becomes obsolete, or even before (allowing Apple to control when a product enters its own decline phase), a new version appears on the market. Use your knowledge of product life cycles to shepherd your business into continual growth phases.
Posted in Pricing
Tags: Apple, Apple iPod, Competition, Decline Period, Decline Phase, Decline Product, Decline Stage, Emerging Period, Emerging Phase, Emerging Product, Emerging Stage, Growth Period, Growth Phase, Growth Product, Growth Stage, iPod, Life Cycle, Mature Period, Mature Phase, Mature Product, Mature Stage, Optimization, Pricing, Product Life Cycle, Strategy, Success