Can your product remain the same forever?
Products may not live forever but they can live a long time as a strong brand with increasing profitability. Typical charting of the product life cycle shows all products, whether for business or consumer categories, have a life curve with a beginning, middle, and an end (introduction, growth, maturity, and decline).1 Some marketing theory sets a challenge not to interpret the life cycle purely in black and white. Products can be strategically steered to avoid decline.
Product reinvention within the maturity stage can prevent decline altogether. Actually, that is the fun part; forecasting when products may mature to a point of diminishing returns. If the return on investment still shows it to be viable, but needing change or an update, then reinvention is the name of the game. Renewed products function to meet the needs of customers, as they have changed or as technology extends their utility.
The business of managing fleas and ticks with all the available applications is rapidly growing to become the first billion-dollar segment of the veterinary industry.2 Prevention medicines have been around for decades. However, early flea treatments required frequent insecticide application on the animal and in its environment. Today, technology has advanced and parasiticides can immediately kill and repel the pests, provide residual control, and inhibit insect development. The products remain viable in the marketplace with significant utility for pets' health and pet owners' comfort. Technology prevents this category from declining because it brings renewal and reinvention before the maturity stage passes into decline.
1. Source: Barron's Business Review Books, Marketing, Third Edition by Richard L. Sandhusen, copyright 2000 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.
2. Source: Brakke Consulting, Inc. presentation at North American Veterinary Conference in Orlando, Fla., Jan. 21, 2008.
Trina V. Burton, MBA
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