Just about every basic marketing textbook and marketing website, including KnowThis.com, provide a detailed discussion of the Product Life Cycle (PLC). The PLC is generally considered one of the fundamentals of marketing. The adopter labels and unique characteristics of each group, that was created over 50 years ago by Everett Rogers' study of the agricultural industry, still stands today. Moreover, while many have criticized the idea of reducing customers in a market down to just five categories, it is safe to say that, despite the criticisms levied against the PLC, the idea there is a way to look at a market based on characteristics of the customers, and when they start and end consumption, is still a highly accepted concept.

However, while it is relatively easy for marketing professionals and most marketing students to describe the characteristics of most of the four main product categories - Innovators, Early Adopters, Early Majority and Late Majority - it is often very difficult for them to quickly cite an example of buyers who fall into the Laggard category. Well, this story from the Washington Post offers and an excellent example of Laggards. It discusses how AOL still relies on millions of customers who access the Internet using old-fashion dial-up service. Yes, that is correct. These customers still use a modem connected to a phone line.

Whether you find this odd or not, from a marketing perspective it falls right into the benefits of not dropping products too quickly. As we note in our Planning with the Product Life Cycle tutorial, marketers often find Laggards to be extremely loyal. They are often quite insensitive to price increases and thus become a profit gold mine for the marketer. And, for AOL, these Laggards provide the needed income that enables the company to invest in newer products.