Maturity stage marketing is not about promoting goods to “Third Agers.” It is about representing products that have been in the market for a long time. The public and businesses react to products in different ways during their lifecycle. A new product is bold, cutting edge, time-saving and life-changing, but an old familiar brand can seem staid and out of date if it is not represented correctly. This is why marketing strategies are vitally important during its maturity stage.
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Marketing theory identifies four stages of development in the lifecycle for any product. These are development and introduction, growth, maturity and decline. Maturity is not the death of a product. It is not yet in decline, so it is somewhere around the peak of its profitability. Maturity should be the longest of the four stages of the lifecycle. However, this is not automatic. If growth is almost immediately followed by decline, then you are dealing with a “flash in the pan,” a busted fad. Marketing specialists are tasked with extending the maturity stage, because this is when the producer makes back all the money laid out on the initial development and launch of the product.
As the maturity stage is the longest of the stages in a product’s lifecycle, the majority of marketing specialists work on products in this phase of their existence. It is a very profitable specialisation for marketing executives and so the industry has focused on further analysing its characteristics. Maturity is further divided into three phases: growth maturity, stable maturity and decaying maturity. The first of these phases brings the tail end of the growth stage of the lifecycle into the responsibilities of maturity marketing specialists. Stable maturity represents the main body of the maturity stage, and, consequently, the most enduring phase within this period. Decaying maturity is the beginning of the decline stage of the product lifestyle. The goal of marketing is to increase the growth phase, then extend the stable maturity phase for as long as possible.
There is no single formula for how to deal with a product in the maturing stage. The main reason growth rates level off for a product is that it has saturated the market. Further growth is dependent on demographic expansion, which is outside the realm of marketing. The big shakedown comes when sales in that product start to decline. This is when rival products start to differentiate themselves to try to grab market share and maintain their sales levels in a declining market. Here there are several clear strategies.
Marketers have four ways to go in a decaying market. They can keep a grip on market share, keep output volumes high and unit costs low either by improving service related to the product, lowering the price or improving quality. The high volume sellers will then have specific brand perception that locks in their core customers. The fourth option is to withdraw from the mass market and focus on niche demand within that product type. Strategies in this sector include customising the product to produce either “badged” production to carry the brand of other enterprises, or low demand specialised variations of the product.
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