Product Lifecycle Stage 4: Maturity Phase
The beginning of the maturity phase of the product lifecycle is marked by a reduction in the rate of growth. Sales grow very slowly or reach a plateau. The maturity stage is typically the longest phase for most successful products, and many of the products that you currently use are most likely to be in the maturity phase.
In the maturity phase, the product marketing strategy is focused on differentiation from competing products. Typically, a product manager reduces prices to ensure maximum sales and competitiveness. A market-leading product may experience maximum profitability at this stage while #2 or #3 products typically experience reductions in profit due to price reduction and competition.
A smart product manager will figure out ways to introduce product variants at the end of the maturity stage to increase the length of the maturity phase. A major challenge with the variant strategy is cannibalization – the new variant may eat into the sales of the existing variant.
Often there is no way around this, but a smart marketing strategy with proper differentiation that addresses different market segments or new markets can help reduce or even eliminate cannibalization.
As a product manager, during the maturity phase, you must:
- Maximize profits by reducing costs. This will involve increasing the efficiency of your production, supply chain, and distribution operations.
- Maximize the length of the maturity phase by differentiating the product, adding new features, managing pricing, and keeping competitors at bay.