The product life cycle has four main stages: introduction, growth, maturity, and decline. The introduction is characterized by uncertainty in results, no profit, and high marketing costs. The growth stage is characterized by the rapid development of sales and a decrease in production costs due to an increase in output volume and sales of prices. According to Bere and Udroiu (2018), at this stage, marketing costs remain high. During the maturity stage, sales growth slows and even begins to fall, competition intensifies, and marketing costs tend to rise. The decline manifests itself in a sharp decline in sales and profits. Product upgrades, price reductions, and increased marketing costs can only lengthen this stage.
An example of applying marketing strategies at different stages of the PLC is the cola drink from The Coca-Cola Company, which began in 1886. During the introduction, large posters were used to attract buyers and inform them about the drink. At the growth stage, the promotion focused on the distinctive properties and characteristics of the product from competitors. The management issued coupons to the population for the free purchase of a drink, a particular bottle shape was developed, and an advertising campaign with Santa Claus was launched. Moreover, when buying a product, the buyer receives a branded gift. Ciafone (2019) notes that the price of a Coca-Cola drink in a bottle remained at the same level for about 70 years. In turn, the maturity stage of the Coca-Cola beverage was characterized by the highest levels of sales and profits. Many variations of the Coca-Cola Classic product were created – Coca-Cola Zero, Coca-Cola Cherry, and Coca-Cola Vanilla, as well as the variety of packaging volumes for the drink, increased. Coca-Cola is also the organizer and sponsor of the Olympic Games and FIFA and actively uses product placement, collaborations, contests, and sweepstakes.
As for the decline, Coca-Cola is still a popular product on the market. Although there have been some downturns in product history, the company has successfully overcome them through marketing strategies. Thus, when the drink was criticized at the beginning of the 21st century due to the presence of coca leaves, the composition was changed. In turn, when competing with Pepsi, Coca-Cola launched a new advertising campaign, emphasizing eternal values.
Bere, P. & Udroiu, R. (2018). Product lifecycle management: Terminology and applications. IntechOpen.
Ciafone, A. (2019). Counter-Cola: A multinational history of the global corporation. University of California Press.