With a basic understanding of the PLC, we now turn to how this is used in marketing planning. As we will see, the PLC helps the marketer understand that marketing decisions must change as a product moves from one stage to another. For example, marketers will find what works when appealing to customers in the Introduction stage is different than marketing methods used to attract customers during the Growth stage.
For much of the rest of this tutorial, we offer a detailed discussion of how the PLC can aid marketing planning. The discussion is presented using the following assumptions and techniques:
- The chief scope of analysis is at the product form level (i.e., what is happening in a specific industry), where we show how certain characteristics of the market change over time. We break down each stage and discuss the market characteristics in terms of:
- Level of Competition
- Nuances of the Target Market
- Available Product Options
- Price Level
- Promotional Focus
- Distribution Strategy
- Total Industry Profits
- While at the general level the PLC is divided into five main stages, we view most stages as consisting of sub-stages that result from noticeable changes in market characteristics.
- While market characteristics are evaluated for the product form, we offer strategy guidance for individual brands that compete within these specific industries.
- While the examples presented in our PLC discussion focus mainly on marketing situations facing for-profit businesses, it should be understood that not-for-profit businesses are confronted with similar situations. Thus, being aware of the issues faced in the PLC will also strengthen the marketing efforts of many of these organizations.