Marketing Strategies: Maturity Stage

At some point, the rate of sales growth slows. Most products are in this stage of the life cycle, which normally lasts longer than the preceding ones. Three ways to change the course for a brand in the maturity stage are market, product, and marketing program modifications. A firm might try to expand the market by increasing the number of users (converting nonusers, entering new segments, or attracting rivals’ customers) and increasing usage rates among users (getting current customers to use the product on more occasions, use more on each occasion, or use the product in new ways). The firm can also try to stimulate sales by improving quality, features, or style. Finally, it might try to stimulate sales by modifying non-product elements—price, distribution, and communications in particular.

Marketing Strategies: Decline Stage

Sales decline for a number of reasons, including technological advances, shifts in consumer tastes, and increased foreign competition. All can lead to overcapacity, increased price cutting, and profit erosion. As sales and profits decline, some firms withdraw. Those remaining may reduce the number of products they offer, exiting smaller segments and weaker trade channels, cutting marketing budgets, and reducing prices further. Unless strong reasons for retention exist, carrying a weak product is often very costly.

A company in an unattractive industry that possesses competitive strength should consider shrinking selectively. A strong competitor in an attractive industry should consider strengthening its investment. Companies that successfully restage or rejuvenate a mature product often do so by adding value to it. Two other options are harvesting and divesting. Harvesting calls for gradually reducing a product or business’s costs while trying to maintain sales. When a company decides to divest a product with strong distribution and residual goodwill, it can probably sell it to another firm. If the company can’t find any buyers, it must decide whether to liquidate the brand quickly or slowly.

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