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What is the 'Product Life Cycle'

The product life cycle describes the period of time over which an item is developed, brought to market and eventually removed from the market. The cycle is broken into four stages: introduction, growth, maturity and decline. The idea of the product life cycle is used in marketing to decide when it is appropriate to advertise, reduce prices, explore new markets or create new packaging.

BREAKING DOWN 'Product Life Cycle'

First, a product idea is implemented during the introduction phase, and the idea undergoes research and development. If the idea is determined to be feasible and potentially profitable, the product is produced, marketed and rolled out in the growth phase. Assuming the product becomes successful, its production will grow until the product becomes widely available and matures in the mature stage. Eventually, demand for the product declines and it becomes obsolete, resulting in the decline stage.

At the beginning of a product's life, it may have a little to no competition in the marketplace, until competitors start to emulate its success. As the product becomes more successful, it faces increasing numbers of competitors and may lose market share, eventually declining.

The stage of a product's life cycle impacts the way in which it is marketed to consumers. For example, a brand-new product needs to be explained to consumers, while a product that is further along in its life cycle needs to be differentiated from its competitors.

A General Example of Product Life Cycle

Using an established industry as an example, recorded television has products all along the stages of the product life cycle. As of 2016, 3D TVs are in the introduction phase, DVR is in the growth stage, DVDs are in the maturity phase, and video cassettes are in the decline stage.

An Example of Product Life Cycle Management and Implementation

Understanding a product's life cycle and implementing effective product life cycle management is extremely important for a successful company. Zurn Industries, LLC, a leader in commercial, municipal, healthcare and industrial water solutions, identified the need to further define its product life cycle, and implemented a platform created by Advanced Solutions Product Lifecycle Management, LLC to help it do so.

The platform helps Zurn Industries integrate its company-wide product data into a centralized system in such a way that it can report on product development data. Through the use of analyzed data, the company looked at its product life cycle, from the introduction phase to the decline stage, and updated its product workflow so that it operates more efficiently. The product life cycle platform implemented by Advanced Solutions Product Lifecycle Management essentially created a straight-forward approach to new product development, streamlining the four stages of the life cycle.

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