Connecting the Product Adoption Process and the PLC

There is a strong relationship between the product adoption process and the product life cycle. Both consider new to the world products – the product adoption process considers the “stage” that the consumer is in relative to the product – whereas the product life cycle model will track sales (and indicate distinct market conditions), depending upon the particular PLC stage.

Sales do not occur in the product adoption process until trials occur. This would, in the initial stages, connect directly to the introduction stage of the product life cycle. In this stage, firms are primarily depended upon consumers known as innovators. Innovators of those consumers who purchase products based upon their own thoughts and research and are less dependent upon word-of-mouth and related people pressure.

In the trial phase of the product adoption process, sales will tend to be quite limited, as there are less consumers and they are usually buying in smaller quantities initially – as it is often just a trial/test for them to assist in a more formal product evaluation.

As more consumers shift into the adoption phase itself, the market will shift into the growth phase of the PLC. This occurs because you have a base of core customers who are repeat buyers, plus you have the added benefit of growing word-of-mouth which is compounding progressively as more and more consumers have direct experience with the product.

Please keep in mind that not all products will shift through the product adoption process and there are many new products and inventors in the market, with most products failing to gain traction.

From a marketing strategy perspective, there needs to be a recognition of this process and the steps that the brand needs to leave the market through in order to achieve long-term success.

Therefore, in the early part of a new product launch, simple awareness measures (media, PR, advertising, bloggers, influences, and so on) are critical. In terms of generating interest in evaluation, it is important to highlight the competitive advantages of the new product, particularly relative to the existing product offering (that is, substitute/alternative products).

The firm really needs to progress to trial as soon as possible. For low involvement/low-cost products, this could be as simple as free samples and substantial upfront discounting. However, for more involved purchases, strong retailer relationships may be necessary to provide the facility for firms to access and engage with the product.

Related topics

Marketing strategy checklist for each stage of the PLC


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