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The different stages of the development and marketing of a certain product is generally known as “Product Life Cycle”. The life cycle of a product is determined by revenue it generates. 

Introduction

Sales of a product will be low when the product has just been introduced into the market. This depends on the time that the customers take to know about the product from the time the firm announces the introduction of the product.

There are four known stages of a product right from Introduction of the product in the market through decline i.e. less acceptance of the product by consumers.

The four stages are:

Introduction Stage
In this stage the product is introduced to the consumers after development of the product. There is usually a great amount of work done on research of the demand of such a product in the market, segmentation of the consumers, branding, promotion and distribution in the market place. A lot of cost is incurred in these activities by the company in this stage. Profits are not likely to be made on the products just introduced in the market.

The success of the product is truly dependent on the acceptance of the product by the target consumers. The product needs careful monitoring of sales and consumer opinions as this is crucial for the product/brand managers to decide on whether to continue promoting it or withdrawing it from the market.

Growth Stage
The growth stage is seen when the product is well accepted in the market which is in turn evident in the high sales. In this stage the product fetches good profits for the company. It is recommended that the company invests time and energy in expanding its market share through various efforts.

Maturity Stage
This is probably the toughest stage for the product in terms of market dynamics. The product faces immense competition from followers who have introduced similar products. The company should ideally invest its resources in research towards innovation and product enhancements to stay ahead of competitors in the market.

Decline Stage
In the decline stage, sales tend to dwindle affecting profitability. This could be due to various reasons. They could be product obsolescence, increased competition from companies introducing cheaper products, changing consumer buying patterns etc. The company needs to be careful about managing the product in the market in this stage. Proper analysis is needed around the direction of performance of the product from various angles. The results of this analysis should be ultimately considered in continuing or ending the sale of the product in the market.

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