Positionin Products Through the Life Cycle

We will address the following questions:

■ What challenges does a company face in developing and introducing new products?

■ What are the main stages in developing new products, and how can they be better managed?

■ What factors affect the rate at which consumers adopt new products?

■ What marketing strategies are appropriate at each stage of the product life cycle?

■ How can a company choose and communicate an effective positioning in the market?

Ev t very company, regardless of size, must research and create new products to maintain or build sales. Why? Customers want new products and choices, and competitors will be doing their best to supply them. Over 16,000 new products (including line extensions and new brands) arrive on grocery and drugstore shelves every year, having made their way through the new product development process from bright idea to testing to commercialization.

Not every new product catches on, of course, and those that do are adopted by customers at different rates. This is why smart marketers target early adopters and use marketing tactics that will facilitate consumer movement through the various stages in the adoption process.

Companies normally reformulate their marketing strategy several times during a product's life as economic conditions change, competitors launch new assaults, and the product passes through new stages of buyer interest and requirements. Successful companies plan marketing strategies that are appropriate to each stage in the product's life cycle and hope to extend each product's life and profitability, knowing that no product lasts forever. The key to setting one offering apart from competing offers throughout the life cycle is to select a suitable differentiation strategy and create a distinctive position in the market.

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