22 June 2009

PLC Theory

Well I'm back in my school marm super hero disguise and ready to continue to (mis)educate you. I'm going to give you a very abridged marketing lesson (you guys should really start paying me for all this wisdom...I take AmEx, Mastercard, and InterSwitch payments although cash is preferable, what with all this bad credit going around!)
Anyway to the lesson at hand...the PLC, for laymen the Product Life Cycle. Every product has a life cycle, pretty much like a person's. The conception stage (R & D phase), the growth stage, the maturity stage, and the death or retirement stage.
First, some bright chaps in marketing come up with a product to serve a particular need or to improve upon an existing product. After spending mucho dinera on research, market surveys and branding etc the new product enters the scene.
It goes through a growth stage where product loyalty is developed and sales figures increase as more people become aware of the product. The maturity stage is when optimum usage or sales are reached. People are buying, word of mouth is good and everybody's happy...buyers feel their getting value for money and the producers are laughing to the bank (hopefully).
Then, comes decline. The market is saturated, product usefulness has run its course, imitators have arrived, market share and sales figures start to fall and eventually the product gets phased out. Now if the makers have their act together they can reinvent the product, discover new uses for the product, make entry into the market difficult for new contenders, engage in product diversification or modification etc during the maturity stage and extend the life cycle, but eventually the cycle must end.Now the same PLC theory exists in relationships. The conception stage of the relationship begins when Mr. A desires the hot new product, Ms. B.. Extensive research ensues...where does she hang out, what does she like, how does she roll? etc. Much capital and other resources are spent, surveys conducted and strategic planning engaged in to ensure smooth market entry.
Now depending on the desire of the man, the product maybe invested in as a prototype or beta test pending the release of the final product (Ms. F., G., H. or Z. Or if he's really in to Excel he could product test till Ms. IJ256!), or he might see Ms. B as the finished product.
The relationship progresses tentatively (the growth stage), everybody on their best behaviour and the market share of Ms. B increases as Mr. A begins to "buy" her way, and her uses are discovered.
All things being equal, we progress to the maturity stage. Ms. B's been accepted and her market share has reached its peak, and the issue of competing products arises and new entrants flood the market.
How does Ms. B maintain her market dominance?
A smart business person might choose to:
  • re-brand the product along with an extensive new marketing strategy showcasing the product's alternate uses; (she flips the script and shows him other sides of her)
  • engage in product adaptation or modification to meet the changing demands of the buyer (she attunes to his changing needs and grows with him);
  • introduce of a supplementary product to increase the usefulness of and spark desire for the initial product (in this case fast forward 9 months); or
  • simply find ways to remind the buyer why he was loyal to the product initially (she keeps giving that 'good good').
Now if Ms. B has been successful in warding off the competition she should be married, and only retired by death (usually Mr. A's).
However, as we sadly know, not all products are successful in the open market, it could be that:
  • the product was a mismatch for the buyer (she wasn't the girl for him),
  • the product's entry into the market was ill timed (he wasn't ready to settle down or she was too emotionally immature to settle down),
  • the product failed to deliver (she wasn't who she said she was),
  • the product maker failed to fully understand the market thus failing to adapt to changing user requirements (she got too comfortable, and forgot to pay attention and research his changing needs) or
  • it was simply a bad market (he was just the wrong guy)
Whatever the case or cause, the product failed to satisfy the end user (Mr. A).A smart business person, if they decide to reintroduce the product, will analyse the reasons for the initial failure, reassess the target market demographics (make sure she's looking at the right type of man), align the product for market compatibility (make sure she's the right woman) and work out the kinks before relaunch (check bad attitudes, develop emotional maturity etc). Likewise in a failed relationship, a wise woman should assess, reevaluate and workout her lapses (if any) in the previous relationship, and then reintroduce herself appropriately repackaged for her new target market.
Originally Posted: 26 April 09

DISCLAIMER: All thoughts and opinions expressed here are all mine (crazy as they might seem). All works here are my original work (unless otherwise stated)

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Anonymous said...


I think I need to quit with these comliments and stuff

*adjusts jaw*

I am beginning to sound like a dotting fan...I love the metaphors and the insight in this one though

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