Promotion and the Product Life Cycle
The Product Life Cycle
Every product goes through a lifecycle of introduction, growth, maturity and decline (Cant, Strydom & Jooste, 2006). The introduction stage entails designing, developing, and launching the product to the target market. The growth stage is characterised by a rapid increase in sales and market share. At the maturity stage, the growth of sales starts to slow down. The slowdown may deteriorate, causing sales to decline. The product life cycle has important implications for marketing (Cant, Strydom & Jooste, 2006). Each stage often calls for a different marketing strategy. At the introduction stage, attention is paid to creating awareness and developing the market. The focus of marketing shifts at the growth stage, with attention being paid to creating brand preference and growing market share. This can be achieved by maintaining product quality and price, adding distribution channels, targeting a broader audience, and so on. When growth slows down at the maturity stage, focus is shifted to maintaining market share through strategies such as differentiation and price adjustment. At the decline stage, decisions such as adding new features to the product, minimising costs, narrowing market focus, and discontinuing the product can be made (Vashisht, 2005).
Product and Promotion
Product and promotion constitute important elements in the marketing mix. The two elements significantly affect the success of the product in the marketplace, especially during the introduction and growth stages. Three vital aspects in product and promotion strategy include integrated marketing communications (IMC), positioning, and push and pull techniques. IMC is an important concept in marketing. It generally denotes an approach to marketing where a variety of marketing and promotional methods are utilised while at the same time delivering a consistent message to the customer (Ang, 2014). The notion of IMC can be likened to the production of music where each instrument serves a specific purpose, but the end goal is to produce good music. Closely associated with IMC is positioning, which refers to the representation of the brand in the consumer’s mind, mostly in comparison to a competitor (Cant, Strydom & Jooste, 2006). Marketing seeks to emphasize the uniqueness of a product relative to competing products. This is the core of positioning — creating a positive image about the product in the consumer’s mind.
Understanding the notions of push and pull is also important for the product and promotion strategy. Push techniques are techniques aimed at taking the product to the customer (Ang, 2014). Popular push marketing techniques include showrooms, trade shows, and incentivising retailers to stock the product. Pull marketing, on the other hand, denotes attempts aimed at motivating consumers to actively seek the product (Ang, 2014). This is achieved through techniques such as sales promotions, advertising, and referrals.
Marketing objectives can be achieved via a number of media channels. Three media methods that can be used include magazines, television, and social media. Magazines constitute one of the popular channels of print advertising. As magazines provide content relating to certain aspects that matter to the target market such as sports, music, and lifestyle, they present a valuable tool for promoting products (Vashisht, 2005). Depending on the target audience, the marketer can choose the appropriate extent of circulation (local, regional, national, or global). Product promotion can also be done through television advertising. Indeed, television advertising is one of the earliest and most popular forms of advertising. It enables marketers to communicate to a broader audience. While television advertising remains popular, its place is increasingly being overtaken by social media. Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, and other popular social networking sites provide a significantly cheaper way of promoting products to an indefinite audience. Indeed, social media is increasingly being termed as the future of marketing (Ang, 2014).
Evaluating the Success of Marketing Activities
It is imperative to assess the effectiveness of marketing activities. Three metrics that can be used in this regard include conversion rate, number of new customers, and number of social media fans (Ang, 2014). An important objective of marketing is to increase product awareness, and hence influence consumers to purchase the product. Determining the number of customers acquired as a result of the marketing campaign can tell the effectiveness of the campaign. The effectiveness of marketing can also be determined by the number of social media fans. This specifically entails monitoring the number of likes on Facebook, retweets on Twitter, and views on Youtube. It is, however, important to note that social media fans may not necessarily translate to customers. Monitoring the conversion rate may be a better indicator as it measures the number of customers who actually undertook a specific action recommended by the marketing content, such as sharing a story or placing an order.
Ang, L. (2014). Integrated marketing communications. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Cant, M., Strydom, M., & Jooste, C. (2006). Marketing management. 5th ed. Cape Town: Juta & Co. Ltd.
Vashisht, K. (2005). A practical approach to marketing management. New Delhi: Atlantic Publishers.
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