Product life cycle strategies in rural markets21/10/2022 0 By indiafreenotes
The development stage of the product life cycle is the research phase before a product is introduced to the marketplace. This is when companies bring in investors, develop prototypes, test product effectiveness, and strategize their launch. Due to the nature of this stage, companies spend a lot of money without bringing in any revenue because the product isn’t being sold yet.
This stage can last for a long time, depending on the complexity of the product, how new it is, and the competition. For a completely new product, the development stage is hard because the first pioneer of a product is usually not as successful as later iterations.
Development Stage Marketing Strategy
While marketing typically begins in the introduction stage, you can begin to build “buzz” around your product by securing the endorsement of established voices in the industry. You can also publish early (and favorable) consumer research or testimonials. Your marketing goal during this stage is to build upon your brand awareness and establish yourself as an innovative company.
The introduction stage is when a product is first launched in the marketplace. This is when marketing teams begin building product awareness and reaching out to potential customers. Typically, when a product is introduced, sales are low and demand builds slowly.
Usually, this phase is focused on advertising and marketing campaigns. Companies work on testing distribution channels and try to educate potential customers about the product.
Introduction Stage Marketing Strategy
This is where the fun begins. Now that the product is launched, you can actually promote the product using inbound marketing and content marketing. Education is highly important in this stage. Your target consumer must know what they’re buying before they buy it. If your marketing strategies are successful, the product goes into the next stage; growth.
During the growth stage, consumers have accepted the product in the market and customers are beginning to truly buy in. That means demand and profits are growing, hopefully at a steadily rapid pace.
The growth stage is when the market for the product is expanding and competition begins developing. Potential competitors will see your success and will want in.
Growth Stage Marketing Strategy
During this phase, marketing campaigns often shift from getting customers’ buy-in to establishing a brand presence so consumers choose them over developing competitors. Additionally, as companies grow, they’ll begin to open new distribution channels and add more features and support services. In your strategy, you’ll advertise these as well.
The maturity stage is when the sales begin to level off from the rapid growth period. At this point, companies begin to reduce their prices so they can stay competitive amongst growing competition.
This is the phase where a company begins to become more efficient and learns from the mistakes made in the introduction and growth stages. Marketing campaigns are typically focused on differentiation rather than awareness. This means that product features might be enhanced, prices might be lowered, and distribution becomes more intensive.
During the maturity stage, products begin to enter the most profitable stage. The cost of production declines while the sales are increasing.
Maturity Stage Marketing Strategy
When your product has become a mature offering, you may feel like you’re “sailing by” because sales are steady and the product has been established. But this is where it’s critical to establish yourself as a leader and differentiate your brand.
Continuously improve upon the product as adoption grows, and let consumers know in your marketing strategy that the product they love is better than it was before. This will protect you during the next stage saturation.
During the product saturation stage, competitors have begun to take a portion of the market and products will experience neither growth nor decline in sales.
Typically, this is the point when most consumers are using a product, but there are many competing companies. At this point, you want your product to become the brand preference so you don’t enter the decline stage.
Saturation Stage Marketing Strategy
When the market has become saturated, you’ll need to focus on differentiation in features, brand awareness, price, and customer service. Competition is highest at this stage, so it’s critical to leave no doubt regarding the superiority of your product.
If innovation at the product-level isn’t possible (because the product only needs minor tweaks at this point), then invest in your customer service and use customer testimonials in your marketing.
Unfortunately, if your product doesn’t become the preferred brand in a marketplace, you’ll typically experience a decline. Sales will decrease during the heightened competition, which is hard to overcome.
Additionally, new trends emerge as time goes on, just like the CD example I mentioned earlier. If a company is at this stage, they’ll either discontinue their product, sell their company, or innovate and iterate on their product in some way.
Decline Stage Marketing Strategy
While companies would want to avoid the decline stage, sometimes there’s no helping it especially if the entire market reached a decline, not just your product. In your marketing strategy, you can focus on nostalgia or emphasize the superiority of your solution to successfully get out of this stage.
To extend the product life cycle, successful companies can also implement new advertising strategies, reduce prices, add new features to increase their value proposition, explore new markets, or adjust brand packaging.
The best companies will usually have products at several points in the product life cycle at any given time. Some companies look to other countries to begin the cycle anew.
Now that we’ve gone through stages, let’s review some real-life examples of them in action.
A prime need for any firm to emerge as a strong player in the rural market is by carefully identifying gaps in the rural market and crafting the right product offering for consumers. Chalking out a product strategy for rural market differs in many aspects when compared to urban counter parts. Needs and demand of rural consumer might be contrasting to that of urban consumer and therefore it’s necessary to hit the right chord when entering the rural market. The prime objective is to design products to suit rural requirements.
Conventional wisdom on rural marketing states that the needs of the rural consumers are similar to those of the urban consumers. Hence, the products made to urban specifications should suit the requirements of the rural consumers. However, this is not true in many cases, as there is a market difference between rural and urban environments. For instance, Kerosene or LPG gas stoves, where the flame can be controlled, are used for cooking in urban areas, while an open fire or ‘Chulha’ is used in rural areas. Pressure cookers with handles on one side suit the urban consumers, but not the rural consumers for use on an open fire or a ‘chulha’. Perhaps, a wide-bodied cooker within handles on opposite sides may suit rural requirements. Therefore, while designing and developing products, the requirements of the rural consumers are to be considered and rural-specific products developed.
During the late eighties, shampoo sales boomed when it was introduced in sachet pack, because it suited the consumers in low income groups. Hindustan Motors (HM) launched a utility vehicle the RTV (rural transport vehicle), aimed at rural market. Hence, product development for rural consumers is necessary.
Though marketers are still trying and experimenting ways to successfully tap the rural arena, below are few product strategies which have been widely adopted and have proved themselves to work in the rural landscape:
Small unit packing: This method has been tested by products life shampoos, pickles, biscuits, Vicks cough drops in single tablets, tooth paste, etc. Small packings stand a good chance of acceptance in rural markets. The advantage is that the price is low and the rural consumer can easily afford it.
Another example is the Red Label tea Rs. 3.00 pack which has more sales as compared to the large pack. This is because it is very affordable for the lower income group with the deepest market reach making easy access to the end user satisfying him.
The small unit packings will definitely attract a large number of rural consumers.
New product designs: Keeping in view the rural life style the manufacturer and the marketing men can think in terms of new product designs.
For e.g. PVC shoes and chappals can be considered sited ideally for rural consumers due to the adverse working conditions. The price of P.V.C. items is also low and affordable.
Sturdy products: Sturdiness of a product is an important factor for rural consumers. The experience of torch light dry battery cell manufacturers support this because the rural consumers preferred dry battery cells which are heavier than the lighter ones. For them, heavier weight meant that it has more over and durability. Sturdiness of a product either or appearance is an important for the rural consumers.
Utility oriented products: The rural consumers are more concerned with utility of the product and its appearance Philips India Ltd. Developed and introduced a low cost medium wave receiver named BAHADUR during the early seventies. Initially the sales were good but declined subsequently. On consumer research, it was found that the rural consumer bought radios not only for information and news but also for entertainment.
Brand name: For identification, the rural consumers do give their own brand name on the name of an item. The fertilizers companies normally use a logo on the fertilizer bags though fertilizers have to be sold only on generic names. A brand name or a logo is very important for a rural consumer for it can be easily remembered.
Many times rural consumers ask for ‘peeli tikki’ (Yellow Bar) in case of conventional and detergent washing soap. Nirma made a ‘peeli tikki’ (Yellow Bar) specially for those peeli tikki users who might have experienced better cleanliness with the yellow colored bar as compared to the blue one although the actual difference is only of the color.