On the eve of an important milestone in her life, Research Manager Emma Flood reflects on how products and services experience similar highs and lows, and how it’s important for us to understand why.
I am just about to enter a period of reflection in my life, since I am turning 30 on Monday 13th July. Although I feel I should be clinging on to the last few days of my 20s, it actually hasn’t felt such a big deal to be passing such a milestone – although perhaps I will feel quite differently on Monday!
My increasing age prompted me to think about my overall life span – past, present and future – my accomplishments in life, where I am now, and what I hope to achieve in the future. As I daydreamed about this, my mind wandered to my role as a researcher, and I began to think about the product or service life cycle. If my life were a product life cycle, you could arguably say that I’m in the growth stage of the cycle – still growing intellectually and yet to accomplish everything I will set out to achieve. I’d say I’ve got a few years yet before I hit maturity, and let’s not talk about decline…
When we think about the life cycle of products and services, growth is an exciting phase – we’ve gone through the introduction phase already and are observing how well the product or service is faring within the market, before we hit a hopefully profitable maturity, and preferably not decline. Recognising where we are as a business is an important step in defining future strategy – yet not all businesses recognise, for instance, how much growth certain business segments have left, or perhaps how to avoid the decline stage.
This started me thinking about how much attention is paid to the product life cycle. You may have a portfolio of products and services, each at different stages of their life cycle – could you easily identify where each one is? Identifying their stage, and thus their future potential can be imperative for business. Perhaps you have seen a consistent decline in interest in one of your products or services, or perhaps you have seen a spurt of growth in another – do you know what has caused this? Market research can get to the bottom of the drivers behind growth and decline, and provide you with a focus on which areas of your business could be your star performers and which business segments are less attractive – and indicate investment would be better placed elsewhere.
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