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. is team leader of Grow Sales, Inc., a marketing and social media services company operating at the intersection of compelling content, clear vision and quality communication practices. In this blog, fire is a metaphor for print. Hang on, this ride will be weird...Prometheus crept into Mt. Olympus, stole fire, returned to the lowlands, ran from house to house distributing it, got caught, was chained to a rock, lost his liver to a huge ugly bird and was rescued by Hercules. Leveraging his fame, Prometheus started Fire Enterprises Inc.  (FEI). Since fire was the hottest technology of the time, company success came fast and furious. Two generations later, fire isn't such an easy sale. Now led by Prometheus' grandson Org, FEI's growth is non-existent, competitors are pounding and prices are in the toilet.
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