The idea of a product life cycle (PLC) isn’t as modern as you might think. It dates back to 1966 when Raymond Vernon, economist and professor at Harvard Kennedy School, came out with the original theory. Initially, it explained the success of US exports.
Since then, many managers, marketing heads, and directors have learned about the product life cycle phases: introduction, growth, maturity, saturation, and decline. And yet only a few companies apply the knowledge efficiently.
The product life cycle is a powerful instrument that helps design and administrate new products, supports decision-making, and predicts the whole story from the start. There is a bunch of great articles about all five PLC stages. So here we describe the introduction stage of a product life cycle when the novelty first arrives on the market.
Arounda team has been developing digital products for startups and SMEs for five years. The cases of our long-term clients, such as Bold, showcase how vital it is to monitor customers’ reactions closely and think over or redesign the initial proposition if necessary. When you understand the peculiarities of the introduction stage, you can optimize marketing strategies correspondingly and thrive.
In this article, we discuss the following:
What is the introduction stage of a product life cycle?
Which factors influence the first stage?
What are the examples of introduction stage of product life cycle?
Distribution and promotion tactics
Profitability metrics on the introduction stage of the product life cycle
Let's start from the introduction stage of product life cycle definition and characteristics.
The introduction stage begins the product life cycle straight after development. Here, companies make the first promotion and build awareness of the product or service.
Here are some typical characteristics of introduction stage of product life cycle.
High cost. The first stage usually implies significant investments in the advertisement. The goal is to inform the customers about the benefits and new features of the product, establish first connections, get initial reviews and win trust.
Low competition. If the product is highly innovative, there is almost no competition. Of course, this will only last for a while. The rivals notice the rise of the newcomer and update their propositions.
In other cases, if a well-known brand is launching a new model of its product. The company will try to avoid competition with its previous ones. For instance, it will emphasize unique features like charging time or a dual camera.
Focus on kindling consumers’ interest. The principal goal of the introduction stage is not to get immediate profit. Instead, the aim is to pass the product to consumers through free trials, money-back, low pricing, and build demand. The profit will follow during the growth and
maturity stages when a
new thing gains
Numerous factors determine how a product performs. We list the most influential ones.
This is everything you do before you present a product to the public. Product development involves more pitfalls, time, and cost than any other stage. Meanwhile, it is a cornerstone for future success.
The most popular pricing tactics are skimming and penetration.
Skimming. In this case, you set a high price for the product from the very beginning. This way, you attract high-income buyers who feel themselves first movers and trendsetters. Then, as the market expands, you lower or "skim" the price for other groups of consumers.
Penetration pricing is the opposite. You start with low prices and increase them when customer loyalty and demand are rising. There is a risk of zero profit initially, but you quickly recover through better conversion.
It might seem that the most innovative product will automatically win the market. But in reality, consumers need time to embrace a new behavior, idea, or customer experience. And if it takes several months or years, the company can not make it till success comes.
Some market players consciously decide not to risk with novelties. Instead, they observe innovative competitors and intend to take the second bite of an apple with less threat.
Other factors like brand name, speed of market adoption, promotion, distribution strategies, team organization, and external issues also impact the introduction stage of PLC. But they are similar for all PLC stages, so we go further to the examples.
In 2022, the noteworthy introduction stage of the product life cycle examples are:
Artificial Intelligence software tools
Let's have a closer look at one example of introduction stage of product life cycle. 3D TVs have been on the market for quite a while but have yet to get wide distribution. Meanwhile, Wired suggests that 3D television might get another shot, and the analysis by Samsung Electronics shows the global 3D TV market growth to 25% from 2022 to 2028.
Could the first try of implementation fail because of wrong timing or an extremely high innovation rate? The second attempt might succeed now with considerable investment and renewed marketing.
Foldable phones combine the popular size of a smartphone with a large screen of tablets. They answer the demand for miniaturized electronic devices in entertainment and gaming. According to Future Market Insights, the global foldable phone market size is expected to grow from $6.8 bn in 2021 to $64.35 bn by 2031, with a CAGR of 25.2%.
Meanwhile, these devices are expensive and didn't make significant shipments worldwide in 2021. Both Samsung and Huawei emphasize a foldable phone as a status symbol to encourage consumers to this purchase.
The introduction stage of product life cycle examples showcase prominent on-to-market strategies, and we are in the first row to see how this works out and learn from the best.
Distribution is how we sell and deliver products and services to the customer. It influences the final cost of the product and the customers' experience in the introduction stage of the product life cycle, so let's figure out how it works.
The length of the distribution channel is one of the critical factors. If a customer gets a product straight from the manufacturer, the distribution channel is short. It is typical for electronic products such as video games, computer software, cloud services, mobile apps, etc.
The channel is longer if customers get the product through a supplier, distributor, and retailer. Thus, the manufacturer has less profit because each vendor charges for its services. Generally, the shorter the distribution channel, the more beneficial it is for both parties, the customer and the manufacturer.
In the introduction stage of the product life cycle, you can choose between three main distributions types:
Intensive Distribution: have as many purchases as possible and win the largest share of the market
Selective Distribution: purchase in some locations and customize the product
Exclusive Distribution: limited edition of unique products such as Chanel dresses or Google Nexus series 6.
When we describe introduction stage of the product life cycle the first thing to mention is that marketing and promotion have a decisive role when the product is struggling for recognition. The main goal is to deliver the outlet to the customers and gain their trust.
The proven promotion tactics include:
Free trials and Freemium packages
Boosting through influential personalities
Credit lines to loyal retailers
As for marketing options in the introduction stage of the product life cycle, you may choose from the following:
Rapid skimming: high price with intensive promotion
Slow skimming: high price with minimal promotion
Rapid penetration: low price with intensive promotion
Slow penetration: low price with minimal promotion
We suggest producing content for all regular promotion channels and having backlinks for the following:
Dribble, Clutch, Behance platforms
Profit is the bottom line of every business. The amount of money that remains after paying all expenses, including direct and indirect costs, debts, Ad hoc, and others, will prove the profitability of the affair.
Let's get into the numbers. If you purchase a SaaS monthly subscription for $20 and have 10,000 subscribers, the revenue will make $200,000 a month. But that's not the profit yet. From these assets, you will pay developers’ salaries, buy computers, pay hosts, and the other direct expenses required to build a digital product. Indirect costs such as advertising, staff learning, or software licenses will also be subtracted from your revenue. You have a profitable product if you get a positive number at the end of these calculations.
We recommend estimating the profitability during product development as well as the introduction stage of the product life cycle. This way, the product team learns:
Whether the product idea is profitable at all
How to make it a profit? Reduce the manufacturing costs, increase promotion expenses, or change the demographics of the proposition?
How to make more profit at any PLC stage?
Understanding the product life cycle and its first introductory stage gives us reasonable approaches to managing the product journey through the market. We know what to expect and think efficiently to optimize branding, promotion, or distribution to win first ambassadors and smoothly move to the profitable PLC growth stage.
Smart strategies for the introduction stage of the product life cycle result in:
higher product safety
faster recognition on the market
better predictions and efficient resource planning
improved distribution channels
marketing campaigns with increased ROI
longer product life thanks to an optimal start
Arounda has developed various digital products, including web and mobile applications, corporate sites, platforms, and landing pages. You can check out our work in the portfolio. We have accompanied dozens of our clients in their first steps to the market and know how to help them succeed.
If you are looking for practitioners with a strong collaboration culture to launch your product, we are here to help.
Sign up to our newsletter to get weekly updates on the trends, case studies and tools