Planning: Late Growth Stage

  • Competition: As the market begins to see slower growth, companies find themselves in a highly competitive market.  Fierce battles occur on some fronts, such as within certain segments, where demand is falling faster than in other segments.
  • Target Market: The overall market is still growing in terms of sales volume, especially as the product spreads to the Late Majority. But there is some evidence that, while sales are increasing, overall growth is occurring at a decreasing rate compared to previous time periods.
  • Product: With so many competitors offering numerous product options, customers feel overwhelmed and confused by the choices available. In cases where customers do not fully understand the product (e.g., technology product), they may feel more comfortable purchasing only the top brands or products sold at leading distributors, who may offer a generous product return policy.
  • Prices: The average price is falling rapidly as market growth begins to slow and competitors struggle to maintain their market share. Price wars may break out.
  • Promotion: There is heavy spending on advertising and especially on sales promotions designed to offer incentives to customers to purchase and to repurchase.
  • Distribution: With demand beginning to slow, some distributors cut back on the number of products they stock. They may even threaten to stop carrying products if leading product marketers do not offer additional incentives.
  • Profits: Marketers begin to see a leveling off of profits as overall revenue flattens due to slowing demand and falling prices. However, marketing costs still remain high.
Brand Strategy

Many marketers find this to be the most difficult part of the PLC. The late Growth stage is a turbulent time with firms fighting just to survive. The turbulence is brought on by the slowing of growth. This is not to say that overall sales are declining but that the percentage of growth from one period to the next is declining. For instance, sales over a three-year period may show an overall increase but it is occurring at a decreasing rate compared to the previous years (e.g., 20%,15%, 10%).

The key objective for a marketer is to remain competitive by maintaining an overall market power position (e.g., promote product as being a trusted leading brand) or by achieving an insulated position within a niche market segment (e.g., promote product as offering strong benefits not offered by leading brands). Brands may use various marketing tactics that keep existing customers happy (e.g., coupons, improved customer service) and entice new customers to try the product (e.g., rebates, extended payment, try-before-you-buy). Distribution partners are encouraged to remain loyal through such actions as attractive pricing, promotional assistance, and customized packaging.