Creating the Product is Only the Start – Real Success Depends on Lifecycle Management
Lesson #7 of Turning Ideas into Market-Winning Products.
After the product is created and the decision made to sell it, lifecycle management begins. This is the last portion of the 3-part innovation model. Once in the market, available to customers, the product manager focuses on maximizing the product’s performance as it moves through its lifecycle stages of Introduction, Growth, Maturity, Decline, and Retire.
Why This Lesson is Important and What You Will Learn
After reading this lesson you will be able to describe the activities that are needed to be successful after launch and throughout the natural product lifecycle.
In previous lessons, activities related to the Managed Front End and New Product Development were covered. Now, with the product launched to the market, the product lifecycle begins.
In the last lesson, another model was introduced, based on ” The Guide to the Product Management and Marketing Body of Knowledge: ProdBOK Guide,” that depicts the phases and gates used during New Product Development and Lifecycle Management. This lesson describes the activities in the Launch, Deliver, and Retire phases.
Launch is the lifecycle phase that introduces the product to the market, starting lifecycle management. It consists of six activities to maximize sales and enthusiasm for the product in the market:
1. Product Positioning. Define the position in the market the product should be known for.
2. Collateral Development. Write product literature and communication materials.
3. Sales Channel Preparation. Enable sales channels to position the product.
4. Customer Support Readiness. Establish customer service capabilities.
5. Manufacturing Readiness. Prepare for sufficient production capacity.
6. Demand Generation. Leverage communication channels to create demand.
Deliver covers the activities in the middle of the product lifecycle: growth, maturity, and decline. Some of the activities used to grow the sales of a product include:
- Modifying the product to correct problems encountered by customers.
- Enhancing the product and releasing a new version to provide greater value.
- Monitoring competitors’ products and taking action to ensure competitive differentiation.
- Building brand loyalty for the product.
- Updating product collateral to reflect what you have learned from customers.
The activities used as the product matures in the market focus on continuing the profitability of the product and defending its position as the threat of competition bears down. Naturally, consumers lose interest with a product that has been around awhile. Competitors’ options begin to look shinier compared to the more mature product that’s looking a bit old and tired.
As the product enters the decline stage, activities focus on reducing cost to maintain an acceptable profit margin before the product is retired.
The end-of-life plan is used to retire a product. Think of this as the reverse of a launch plan. It communicates how the product will withdraw from the market to minimize the impact to existing customers and maximize the opportunity for the organization. Such plans vary dramatically based on the industry and business factors, including regulatory, government, and legal requirements.
Some product managers spend their careers responsible for product lifecycle management. Although the product has already been created and made available to customers, such product managers still use the practices from the Managed Front End and New Product Development to learn how the product can be improved or better positioned to capture additional market share. Consequently, a career in product management requires mastery of all three parts of the innovation model.
One more lesson to go in this free course, arriving in your email in a few days.
Chad McAllister, PhD
Chief Product Master at Product Mastery Now