The product’s life cycle is partitioned into four phases; introduction, growth, maturity, and decline. Understanding the product life cycle helps marketing professionals strategize to increase sales of products before their worth degenerates. The introductory stage involves launching a new product, finding a target market, and creating a marketing plan to sell the product. Advertising is critical in this stage as it facilitates customer awareness and makes consumers anticipate the new product. The growth stage is characterized by customer acceptance of the product and sales upward trend. In this stage, marketers should fortify the product’s relevance in the market and increase the distribution channels. Competition shrouds this stage, thus necessitating marketers to find a competitive edge and make it the product’s selling point (Lim et., al 2020). Promotional campaigns are essential in the growth stage as they help establish a market for the product. Maturity is the third stage marked out by stability and profitability. In this stage, companies are usually established in the market space and have already carved out their market shares. In the maturity stage, products may experience peaks in their sales until perishable distinctiveness seeps in. When this happens, the product ceases to be distinctly new and becomes a commonality. At this point, the decline stage sets in, and the sales begin to fall. A product may become obsolete as consumer preference changes and new products attract them. In this regard, the report aims at creating an in-depth understanding of the maturity and decline phases.
SCOPE OF STUDY
The study explores the concept of product marketing relevant to the Samsung brand. The paper includes a detailed account of the strategies employed in maximizing the maturity stage of a product. It highlights essential strategies like competitive pricing, phase-out, and differentiation. In addition, the paper provides strategies that can be employed when a product hits the decline stage. Techniques discussed include inventory control, price reduction, and investing in customer loyalty. The paper further delves into product line management which entails increasing the longevity of a product’s good sale times. In this regard, the Samsung Galaxy A22 and A23 will be used to explore marketing in the maturity and decline stages of a product.
BACKGROUND TO THE PRODUCTS.
Samsung Galaxy A22 was first released on July 1, 2021, and is also referred to as Samsung Galaxy A22 4G. The smartphone weighs 186g which is relatively light and has a thickness of 8.4 mm. Moreover, the phone has an operating system (OS) of Android 11, which is upgradable to Android 12 (Omer, 2019). The smartphone has an internal storage space of either 64 GB or 128 GB and a micro SD card. Ram ranges from 4GB to 6 GB which is a substantial increase in the phone’s memory. The phone’s build includes a glass front, a plastic frame, and black with a glossy finish. Samsung Galaxy A22 has a super AMOLED display with 90 Hz and 600 nits. The display resolution is 720 × 1600 pixels translating into 274 PPI density. The primary camera features a LED flash, panorama, and HDR. The video quality is at an all-time high of 1080p@ 30fps. Communication is commendably invested in features like Wi-Fi 802.11, a dual-band, and Wi-Fi Direct. The phone also has Bluetooth, GPS, an FM radio, and a USB Type-C 2.0. Additional features include side-mounted fingerprint sensors, accelerometers, and virtual proximity sensors. The A22 also has a powerful Li-Po 5000 mA battery that is fast charging at 15W. To summarize the description, the A22 comes in various colors, including black, white, mint, and violet.
Samsung Galaxy A23 was released on March 25 and is now available for purchase. The phone IS slightly heavier than its predecessor, for it weighs about 195 g and has a thickness of 8.44m. The phone’s build consists of a glass front made from gorilla glass, a plastic frame, and a plastic back. The phone has a single or dual SIM slot specification that fits a Nano-SIM. In addition, the A23 has a display type PLS LCD, 90 Hz, and a resolution of 1080×2408 pixels which translates to 400 PPI density. The display is protected by corning gorilla glass 5. The phone’s memory is similar to that of the A22, with an internal storage of 64 GB or 128 GB. RAM still varies from 4 to 6 GB across the different models. The main camera is 50 MP featuring a LED flash, panorama, and HDR. Notably, the video quality is maintained at 1080p @30 fps on the main and the selfie cameras. Communication features, including WLAN, Bluetooth, GPS, Radio, and USB, have the exact specifications as those in A22. The battery is a Li-Po 5000 mAh with an upgrade on the charging. The A23 battery is now fast charging at 25W. Moreover, the A23 is available in more colors, including black, white, peach, and blue.
MARKETING STRATEGIES EMPLOYED IN THE MATURITY STAGE.
During the maturity stage, marketing professionals should aim at profit maximization and maintaining the product’s relevance in the market. Prolonging the maturity stage is the ultimate goal and can be achieved through market modification, product modification, and marketing mix modification (Asl-Najafi et al.,2022). The market modification involves entering new market segments and attracting new customers. Organizations modify their products during maturity to ensure consumer needs are continually met. A product can be modified through flanking and revitalization. Flanking involves re-launching a product with added specifications. For example, Samsung launched the Samsung A22 5G, which resembles the Samsung A22 4G but differs in terms of specifications. The 5G model has a triple rear camera, while the 4G model has a quad rear camera. A22 5G has a larger display and is characterized by better network connectivity. Product revitalization entails rebranding a product and is often described by adding an adjective to the product. Revitalization aims at suggesting to a buyer that there is something extra, be it features or a new design.
Marketing mix modification entails changing the marketing mix’s components to stimulate sales. The significant elements of a marketing mix include product, price, promotion, place, people, packaging, and process. Modifying the market mix can be done through sales promotion, price reduction, reminder advertising, and maintaining functional channels (Yusuf and Halim, 2019). Sales promotional campaigns are a temporary marketing strategy used to increase consumers’ interest or demand for a product. Price reduction involves reducing the selling price of a product to make it more affordable to customers. Strategic price reduction is powerful in that it brings in new customers.
Additionally, reminder advertising is a strategy to remind a target market that a product exists. Unlike informative and persuasive advertising, reminder advertising occurs in the maturity stage of the product’s life cycle. Moreover, maintaining marketing channels is an effective way of ensuring products reach their intended consumers.
Competitive pricing entails selecting price points for goods based on the competitor’s pricing. Competitive pricing can take the form of lower prices, higher prices, equal prices, or price skimming. They are selecting lower prices as compared to those of competitors facilitates businesses to maximize economies of scale. Low pricing is part of a loss leader strategy that is not profitable at first but instrumental in attracting new customers. For example, Samsung launched the A22 with the aim of it being a budget phone. Higher pricing involves selling the product higher than the competitors. The strategy works well with popular brands whose products have either more features or benefits. The product takes on a premium label to sell on the market. Equal pricing means that the prices are equivalent to those of competitors. For this strategy to work, an organization must emphasize the product’s uniqueness or create a unique shopping experience in order to maintain a competitive advantage. On the other hand, price skimming is a competitive technique whereby businesses charge high when the demand is high and lowers the price gradually.
The phase-out approach is a process of eliminating a product from the marketing and ensuring it is no longer available to customers. The strategy involves withdrawing resources used in producing a specific product. Phase-out helps organizations achieve their sustainability by directing resources to products that consumers want. When organizations announce they are going to phase out a product, consumers ought to be notified to help organizations produce final consignments before discontinuing production.
A differentiation strategy is employed to provide consumers with a unique product different from what competitors offer. This strategy is mainly used to increase competitive advantage. Brand differentiation can be achieved through emotive responses, innovation, brand presentation, providing a unique experience, and pricing. Emotional response entails providing an emotional salience to the consumers through how a product is packaged and advertised. Innovation involves developing unique features for a product to make it different and stand out. Another differentiator is a brand presentation that entails logos, slogans, and mantras a brand uses to stand out in the market. Investing in omnichannel is a strategy that helps create unique customer experiences. For instance, good customer service and ease in navigating an organization’s website constitute elements that help build a unique experience.
MARKETING STRATEGIES EMPLOYED IN THE DECLINE STAGE
Inventory control is a marketing protocol that ensures stocks are maintained to meet customer demands on time. The decline stage is marked by either a reduction in the need for a product or a reduction in the quality of a product. Managing an inventory is critical in the decline stage, for it helps in classifying products into those that are moving and those that are gathering dust in warehouses. Proper bookkeeping and inventory updates provide trends of goods at the decline stage. An inventory will then create an updated list of products in the decline stage. Subsequently, market professionals can focus on reversing the decline stage or deliberately phasing out the products. An inventory also provides statistics on goods that need to be liquidated faster by selling them at deep discounts to clear stock.
Reducing production is beneficial to organizations whose products are facing the decline stage. It enables companies to salvage their profit margins and survive the declining market. Applying the economies of scale ensures that resources are not wasted on a declining market. In turn, an organization can cut its losses.
The Samsung brand has learned to navigate the declining smartphone market through its A-series phones and the Galaxy S22 series. In early 2022, smartphone shipments reduced by 11% compared to 2021. Through the latest A-series phones like the A22 and the A23, Samsung increased its market share from 22% to 24%. Creating budget phones like the A22 has helped Samsung maintain its competitive advantage over Chinese companies like Oppo and Huawei.
PRODUCT LINE MANAGEMENT
A product line entails a group of related products sold by the same company under a single brand name. A product line involves similar products regarding their physical attributes, function, prices, or quality (Stark, 2020). A product line is also characterized by similar demographics in terms of the type of customers. A product mix is created when an organization groups many product lines together. Product lines are a marketing strategy that companies use to attract customers through brand selling. Adding more products to a line is called product line extension. In this regard, a product line manager determines which products to add to a line and which ones to remove.
Product line management entails overseeing the production, pricing, and distribution of products. Product line depth refers to the number of products a product line has. Having a high depth ensures that an organization offers various products. For instance, Samsung has a high depth in the A-series product line, consisting of 11 models. Notably, Samsung has not only the A-series product line but also the Galaxy Note lineup, Samsung cameras, and Samsung Smart TVs.
PRODUCTS IN SAMSUNG’S PRODUCT LIFE CYCLE
The introductory stage entails an organization introducing a product to the market, for example, through trials and then advertising it. In this initial stage, the aim is to attract target consumers. In this stage, Samsung usually works on garnering news coverage and building social media campaigns to increase anticipation among consumers. After ensuring enough buzz is surrounding a product, Samsung then launches it. Samsung products in the introductory stage include Samsung Galaxy S22, which is still relatively new in the market. Its demand is increasing, and the cost is at its highest. The product’s market share is relatively low but is set to increase as the product transits to the growth stage.
In the growth stage, a product becomes common in the market, and its uniqueness dwindles. Sales and profit growth are high, and the company has started considering price reductions. The product generates high revenue at this stage, and getting rid of competition is paramount. The Samsung A22 is arguably at the growth stage and faces competition from THE iPhone13 Pro lineup. To ensure that the A series continues to top the market share, Samsung is updating the operating systems of its latest versions to Android 12 and improving on specifications like more space.
The maturity stage is characterized by the saturation and demand of a product by customers. In this stage, the product line has a reputation that precedes it, and increasing more products in the line will translate into more sales. Generally, most of Samsung’s smartphones are in the maturity stage. In this stage, an organization may consider improving features of a product to prevent the product from reaching the decline stage. For example, Samsung’s A-series 2021 and 2022 are characterized by a bigger RAM, better optical image stabilization, and camera upgrades. This is an effort to ensure that the product keeps on selling.
Earlier smartphone models are facing the decline stage, and consumers no longer want them. Such Samsung phones include the first-generation Galaxy Alpha and the Samsung Galaxy Spica, released in 2014 and 2009, respectively. Time is a causative agent that propagates products to reach the decline stage. For instance, with better, more technologically advanced models being innovated, earlier models lose demand, and their sales hit rock bottom.
STRATEGIES USED TO ADDRESS PROBLEMS IN PRODUCTS’ LIFE CYCLE
Marketing strategies that are effective in the introduction stage include skimming and penetration. Rapid skimming entails launching a product at a high promotional level, while slow skimming involves launching a product at a low promotional level (Ahmadi, 2019). Rapid penetration consists in launching a product at a low price with a lot of promotion, while slow penetration entails launching a product at a low price and with little publicity. In the introductory stage, the marketing team should establish a brand identity, conduct trials in target markets, and price the products as high as they can sell. The disadvantage of low pricing is that an organization may fail to maximize the profitability of a product.
Marketing strategies employed in the growth stage attract more customers to the product and increase profits. Such strategies include improving the quality of a product by adding new features, expanding distribution channels, maintaining high prices where possible, and penetrating new market segments (Lozhachevska et al.,2021). Samsung has successfully penetrated the US market and is gradually improving its market penetration in North America. In this stage, advertising should shift from product awareness to customer preferences. For example, in this stage, Samsung can start advertising the benefits of each model in the A-series. By so doing, the brand will have provided consumers with various Galaxy phones to choose from.
Innovation is an effective strategy in ensuring customers keep on buying. The Samsung brand has employed innovative technology like the AMOLED display. AMOLED technology is characterized by improved picture quality and a self-luminescence screen. The AMOLED display allows consumers to enjoy bigger screens ranging from 4 to 5 inches. Samsung phones that apply the AMOLED technology include the Galaxy S21 series. Adding sensors such as fingerprint and visual sensors is another innovation that Samsung uses to keep up with advanced technology. Now Samsung users can open their phones easily with the added sensors and enjoy maximum protection now that the phones have the option of user recognition before unlocking. Renovating earlier models of Samsung phones to include these added features benefits customers, but it is not a cost-effective strategy. Consequently, resources that could have otherwise been directed into creating new models will be used to correct old ones.
Furthermore, Samsung is a brand that has mastered adaptability and re-innovation. For instance, in an attempt to prime notebooks, Samsung released the Galaxy Note in 2011 and equipped it with an S pen. The S pen would then be enhanced to include air command in the Galaxy Note 3. The S pen has continually been re-innovated into an AI-powered pen enabling users to enjoy a more sophisticated drawing experience. In terms of the S Pen, the Galaxy Note 20 is more innovative and adaptable compared to Galaxy Note 3.
Additionally, Samsung has recently applied more innovative AI technologies to its smartphones. For example, the object eraser function was introduced in the Galaxy S21. Incorporating AI ensures that Samsung phones adapt to the ever-changing customer preferences.
Notably, innovation is critical in the introductory stage of a product. Inventing new features and specifications adds to the uniqueness of a product which in turn increases customers’ demand for the product. A bigger RAM, AMOLED displays, and better cameras are one way Samsung has employed innovation in its newest phone models (Park, 2022). Moreover, Samsung has learned how to adapt to the business landscape, adding features to compete with rival competitors like Apple’s iPhone. Arguably, a balance between incremental and radical innovation is key in ensuring the longevity of a product’s life cycle.
Understanding the different stages of a product’s life is critical in determining which marketing strategies to employ in either phase. Marketing professionals need to understand the situational context of the products sold to implement the best-suited strategies. This paper has sought to explain the product life cycle, marketing strategies employed in each phase, how to tackle product line management, and the advantages and disadvantages of using various marketing strategies.
Lim, K.Y.H., Zheng, P. and Chen, C.H., 2020. A state-of-the-art survey of Digital Twin: techniques, engineering product lifecycle management, and business innovation perspectives. Journal of Intelligent Manufacturing, 31(6), pp.1313-1337.
Stark, J., 2020. Product Lifecycle Management (PLM). In Product lifecycle management (Volume 1) (pp. 1-33). Springer, Cham.
Asl-Najafi, J., Yaghoubi, S. and Noori, S., 2022. Customizing incentive mechanisms based on product lifecycle phases for an efficient product-service supply chain coordination. Computers in Industry, 135, p.103582.
Ahmadi, F., 2019. Marketing strategies in the product life cycle. Journal of Management and Accounting Studies, 7(02), pp.32-36.
Lozhachevska, O., Navrotska, T., Melnyk, O., Kapinus, L., Zos-Kior, M. and Hnatenko, I., 2021. Management of logistics and marketing behavior of innovation clusters in territorial communities in digitalization of society and the online market. Laplage em Revista, 7(3), pp.315-323.
Omer, S.K., 2019. SWOT analysis implementation’s significance on strategy planning Samsung mobile company as an example. Journal of Process Management. New Technologies, 7(1), pp.56-62.
Park, C., 2022. Different determinants affecting first-mover advantage and late-mover advantage in a smartphone market: a comparative analysis of Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy. Technology Analysis & Strategic Management, 34(3), pp.274-289.
Yusuf Saleh, M. and Halim Perdana Kusuma PUTRA, A., 2019. The Impact of Product Quality, Price, and Distribution on Satisfaction and Loyalty.