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Customers’ needs and the value they perceive in product offerings change over time, presenting managers with unique challenges and opportunities. Firms must constantly manage its product and brand portfolios and determine the manner in which its products interact within and across product lines. Effective firms have a detailed life cycle model and a vision of where they want to be over time.

Successful product life cycle management begins in concert with the design and development of individual products.
As new products are introduced, and existing products move through the life cycle, the firm should continually be learning more about consumers from their reactions to the products. Launch plans are influenced and affected by the existing product offerings of your company as well as your competitor’s offerings. New product launch plans will include such categories as demand generation, demand fulfillment, and after-sales service (or customer relationship management).

An effective life cycle model will contain detailed product plans and an integrated roadmap to guide future decisions. As products move through the process, in-depth analysis will guide decisions regarding pricing, product line decisions, positioning, promotions, and channel design.

Pricing’s role in the marketing mix is to tap into the value created and generate revenues: (1) to fund the firm’s current value-creation activities, (2) to support research that will lead to future value creation, and (3) to generate a profit from the firm’s activities. A complete pricing program has many components and is one of the most important, and one of the most difficult, activities to manage during the life of the product.

Product line decisions involve more than basic dimensions of product breadth, length, and depth. Key questions that must be addressed include the impact of the product on the rest of the line, and the impact that each product has on the overall brand and the company's reputation.

During the course of the product’s life cycle, continuous decisions must be evaluated, including:
  • Delete an item from the line
  • Reposition an existing product within the line
  • Improve the performance of an existing product to strengthen its positioning
  • Introduce a new product within an existing line
  • Introduce a product to establish a new line
An essential element of the marketing mix is to decide the appropriate set of ways in which to communicate with customers to foster their awareness of the product, knowledge about its features, interest in purchasing, likelihood of trying the product and/or repeat purchases. Effective marketing requires an integrated communications plan combining both personal selling efforts and non-personal ones, such as advertising, sales promotion, and public relations.

The consumer not only must be aware of the product’s existence but also must sufficiently value it to choose the firm’s product over competitive products or over not buying at all. This is where marketing promotions come into play an important part.

Marketers should consider how these promotional tools interact with each other. Every promotional tool conveys a message, whether intended or not. How these messages interact with each other ultimately affects the overall effectiveness of marketing promotions. Devising an effective marketing program requires in-depth analysis to support decision making on a host of interrelated issues.

The need for message consistency goes beyond the marketing mix. The messages in the promotional mix – the pricing, the product’s ability to deliver on the promised benefits, and the customer’s experience at the point of sale (place) – all contribute to how existing and potential customers perceive the product or service.

Channel management varies through the product life cycle as the proper channel structure changes over time. The two major decisions of channel management involve:
  1. Channel design, both length and breadth
  2. Channel structure – that is, what policies and procedures will be used to have the necessary functions performed by the various parties.
In each stage of the product life cycle, detailed business model analysis must be done to ensure that everything adds up to a viable business proposition. The goal of the quantitative analysis is always to help in setting marketing policy and to guide overall business decisions.

Additional consulting services:
Product design and development
Segmentation and positioning
    Key LCM deliverables
  • · Business model analysis
  • · Life cycle model
  • · P&L model

  • · Product launch plans
  • · Product line decisions
  • · Pricing decisions

  • · Marketing communications
  • · Sales training information
  • · Merchandising launch plans

  • · Channel management strategy
  • · Sales analysis and forecast
  • · Sales tools and presentations

An average price increase of 1% would boost the net income of the typical large US corporation by about 12%.
– R.J. Dolan and H. Simon

Six M’s for communications

  • 1. Market: to whom is the communication to be addressed?

  • 2. Mission: what is the objective of the communication?

  • 3. Message: what are the specific points to be communicated?

  • 4. Media: which vehicles will be used to convey the message?

  • 5. Money: how much will be spent in the effort?

  • 6. Measurement: how will impact be assessed after the campaign?

Marketing channel tasks
  • · Demand generation
  • · Demand fulfillment
  • · After-sale service
  • · Information/market feedback for strategy development
    Success stories
Beta test / pilot program
Design and implementation a large-scale beta test for a new consumer electronics product

Feature addition
Research and testing to determine interest in new feature and price point sensitivity

Business model
Create a detailed business model for guiding the launch plans of a new mobile service


Marketing has been called civilized warfare. To win in the marketplace you must have more than a great product.

You need a total commitment to the product marketing process. You have to believe, you have to create, you have to sacrifice, and you have to win. Great marketing is a crusade.

Read more ABOUT SWC's approach to solving product management challenges.