The Tribe Discovers the Product Life Cycle

Two weeks ago, the Fire Enterprises, Inc. (FEI) tribe discussed why a company’s product development efforts should derive from knowledge of its core competencies. This week, Lucy defines and examines each stage of the Product Life Cycle in order to help the FEI tribe understand the growth, maturity and decline they can expect from each of their new product entries. Remember, fire = print.

Lucy wrote these three letters on the whiteboard: PLC

“I’ve found the best way to learn about a new topic is through creative comparison,” Lucy said. “Org, you’re a boogie-boarder, right?”

“Yep,” Org replied.

“The first stage of the product lifecycle—the emerging market—is like a ripple in a pond,” Lucy explained. “Imagine you visited a new part of the beach and found only a rippling pond. Save an odd ripple or two, you’d have to put a lot of effort toward a small chance of catching a wave.”

“Doesn’t sound fun,” Org said. “Unless I’m an upstart kid with energy to burn.”

“Exactly,” Lucy agreed. “Emerging markets are only for the intrepid. Your grandfather Prometheus caught a ripple. For every Prometheus, though, there are 50 more investors who lose their toga chasing something they can’t catch.

“Now imagine the Aegean Beach on a Saturday afternoon. Word of emerging waves has driven Olympians to the beach. Sounds perfect, right? This is much like having a product in the growth stage.”

“If it’s a nice day, everyone and their Muse will be dropping a board in the water,” Org said. “I’ll have to jockey for position—when and where I drop in makes a difference.”

“But if you steal a good spot, you can ride the waves for hours, right?” Lucy asked rhetorically. “Better yet, you can get a good position before the crowd even arrives.”

“Now imagine boogie-boarding at high tide,” she continued.

T.J. Tedesco is a sales growth, business strategy, marketing and PR consultant operating at the intersection of clear vision, compelling content and effective outreach practices. For nearly two decades, T.J. has been an independent consultant and sales growth team leader. Previously, he sold commercial printing, graphic arts machinery and supplies, and finishing and bindery services. T.J. helps North American companies with content development, Web and print design leadership, nurture marketing programs, sales coaching, sales team alignment and business strategy. Since 1996, T.J. has worked with more than 100 clients on retainer, 80 percent in the graphic arts industry. T.J. is author of "Win Top-of-Mind Positioning," "Playbook for Selling Success in the Graphic Arts Industry," "Fire! How Marketing Got Hot," "Direct Mail Pal" and four more books published by PIA. He can be reached at (301) 404-2244 or
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