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Every product has a life cycle. The sales of the typical product follows an S-shaped curve made up of five stages. The cycle begins with the product development stage, when the company finds and develops a new product idea. Slow growth and low profits mark the introduction stage as the product is distributed to the market. In this stage, the company chooses a launch strategy consistent with its intended product positioning. If successful, the product enters a growth stage, which offers rapid sales growth and increasing profits. Here, companies work to stay ahead of the competition and sustain rapid market growth by improving product quality, adding new product features and models, entering new market segments and distribution channels, and lowering prices at the right time to attract new customers. To follow, in the maturity stage, sales growth slows down and profits hit a plateau. Companies continue to invest in maturing products by modifying the market, product, or the marketing mix. Finally, the product enters a decline stage in which sales and profits shrink. It's at this stage that the company must decide what to do with the product. They need to ask whether the product should be maintained without change, harvested to reduce costs and try to maintain sales, or dropped completely. When deciding on their marketing strategy it is important that they correctly define their consumer to ensure the best marketing strategy possible.. A consumer is defined using several criteria, for example the age of the consumer, the era the consumer is from and what happened during that era as well as how that era shaped their beliefs and values (i.e. the six American cohorts from the following eras, the depression, WWII, post-war, the baby boom, and Generation X). Depending on the external events that occur while people are coming of age, they may develop different buying habits which marketers should take into consideration when developing their strategies.
We believe that considering generational factors is a key element in developing effective marketing strategies. People from different generations, are interested in buying different products. For example, people from our own generation find it important to keep up with the latest technologies. However, a person who grew up during the Great Depression, who lived most of their life without these technologies, will not view technology as a necessity. With this information, those that market technology will know that the younger generation will be their target market group.
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