Strategies for Extending the PLC

The nature and type of applicable strategies to extend the PLC will vary with each stage, and the level of variation depends on the product type, market conditions, consumer audience, and projected PLC timeline. It is hard to predict a transition from one PLC stage to another (because of measurement lags) and proactively react to the change with targeted action. However, through proper marketing mix design and contingency planning, it is possible to apply various product planning and product marketing strategies at the beginning of a particular stage when it arrives. The underlying approach with any of the following strategies is targeted improvement.

Product Planning Strategies for Extending the PLC

Product Diversification—creating different product variants.

Microsoft’s family of Windows 9.x operating systems allowed the software giant to continuously extend the life cycle of this desktop computer operating system. Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 98SE, Windows ME, Windows XP are among the better-known variants. Coca-Cola’s vanilla flavored drink is an example and a variant to the venerable Classic Coca-Cola drink.

New Product Uses—applying the core product to different uses.

Apple Computer has been very innovative and successful by finding additional uses for its Macintosh computer, such as desktop publishing and strong graphics and animation capabilities. Apple’s Digital Hub concept extends the Macintosh’s functionality even further to serve as a center for managing multimedia files from cameras, DV recorders, scanners, and MP3 devices. On the retail side, in the world of Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG), Arm & Hammer devised over several decades a multitude of deodorizing uses for their core product, baking soda.

Changing Product Layers—altering the product features and creating different product families.

Hewlett-Packard’s InkJet and LaserJet printers are examples of product families that share the same technological core. In addition are Jell-O’s product families of puddings, colored gelatins, and snacks, which are all based on raw gelatin.