From inception to obsoletion, the services and physical products we use every day will experience the product life cycle. We’re not talking about the lifetime of the individual item in your hand. We’re talking about the ultimate future uselessness of a concept. Our most straightforward illustration might be modern cell phones and beepers and pagers of the 1990s. More on that in a moment.

At Onstage Publications, our advertisers are marketing professionals. To stay at the top of our games, we all must acknowledge The Product Life Cycle.

Everything changes! And the hottest concept of today will, ultimately, run its course. With this article, we’ll define the idea and explore how effective marketing can work ahead of the curve.

The Product Life Cycle Defined

From the point of its first insertion into the market, every successful product or service will undergo this pattern. As per Investopedia, the four stages of The Product Life Cycle are:

  • Introduction– a new product hits the market.
  • Growth– the product becomes more popular. Competitors start getting ideas about how to “knock-off” your service or develop worthy add-ons.
  • Maturity– the market is saturated. New versions of the product appear. They may be smaller, faster, cheaper, better.
  • Decline– a new product comes to fill the need

Let’s think back to pagers and beepers in the 90s and the cell phones which obliterated that product. Back then, the average consumer had a landline in their home. Email was a hot new trend. Pagers were a great way to request contact from someone as soon as they reached a landline.

  • Cellular phones were introduced but were only for the elite.
  • As more manufacturers started developing phones, they became cheaper and better. During this growth, more consumers bought their first cell phone.
  • The product matured the moment most US consumers owned a phone.
  • It’s such a competitive industry, some phone manufacturers have been accused of planned obsolescence. They are accused of intentionally shortening the life of cell phones so that consumers will need to purchase more. That’s a sign of decline. There is no more room in the market, no more first-time cell phone users. So manufacturers push new phones early, and we start to get the feeling a new product will be coming to replace them soon.

Let’s reiterate: the cycle is inevitable. Just as cell phones replaced pagers, so will every other product and service be replaced or become obsolete.

Advertising Ahead of the Product Life Cycle

As advertisers, we must see a service or product and know that technology is coming around the bend to replace it. Therefore, our goals as marketing professionals are to use advertising to:

  • Make the most of growth phases, by keeping prices high on new products, and profit margins as wide as possible.
  • Seek more market share as product maturity looms ahead.
  • Endear our products to end-users, as either reliable or luxe.
  • Brand our businesses, making consumers receptive to our next product or solution.

Our Role

Here at Onstage, our business is publishing high-end program books for performing arts organizations. We offer digital signage and our direct mailer to performing arts fans, Artspac.

We would love to talk to you about your specific product or service and help you create the right ads for the right audience, with the knowledge of the Product Life Cycle in mind. Our specialty is marketing to the wealthiest US audiences. These are often the early adopters, the elite, being the ones who could afford cellphones, or who depended on beepers to respond to an emergency. These are the audiences we reach, in an environment that demands their attention.

Our advertisers are like partners to us. We understand your advertising needs, and our success depends on yours. So get in touch with us today!

Related Reading & Resources: History of Pagers & Beepers

Harvard Business Review: Exploit the Product Life Cycle

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