New-to-the-world products only
When we look at the product life cycle, we are generally considering products that are new to the marketplace. That is, these are products that are not normally purchased by consumers. We are not looking at products that are new to the firm, but are new to the market.
Therefore, in the introduction phase, we have a product that is not consumed in the market, generally because there is an existing product (which is different) which solves the same need. For example, before computers consumers use typewriters to produce documents. There was an underlying need to produce professional documents, and typewriters were a suitable solution. As another example, before MP3 players (iPods) people used portable CD players in transit to play music.
New products in the introduction phase compete against established products
This means that most new products start out by competing against established products in the marketplace. These products may be quite different in design, but essentially provide the same need/solution to consumers. Therefore, the first challenge faced by new products is to convince a proportion of consumers to switch/trial the product.
Obviously, established products in the marketplace have significant advantages over any new product, namely:
- they are a known quantity to consumers,
- they have habitual loyalty,
- they have established retailer support, and
- they have price and logistic efficiencies.
The role of innovators
Marketing strategy decisions in the introduction phase of the PLC
Marketing strategy checklist
Limitations of the PLC