The Shift – in a marketing perspective

The good old product lifecycle model has been questioned, but I can’t help thinking that it is a good illustration to the shift of focus that we can see.

The model in brief: when a new offering is launched your first customers will be enthusiasts and after a while the so called ”early adopters” will be the ones to help the market grow. After that a broader group will buy the product, and when ”everybody has got one” the market will decline.

A common application of this model is that while the enthusiasts might buy anything that is new and exciting, the early adopters will need to understand the offering, and what you deliver must also have a consistent quality. You must be obvious, focused and clear. The first walkman was given a minimum of functions because the enthusiasts and early adopters were busy understanding what it was at all!

The products I wrote about here, were all in the early introduction/growth phase. Then one day, when everyone has a walkman or whatever you are offering, the theory says that you will need to add other properties, elements, features in order to make people replace the old one or get one more. It is in the late maturity phase that you will see products available in different colours and so on.

My point here is of course that also in this context you go from ”basics” to ”added experience” – this change of focus that I see in so many areas! Most product areas are today in the late phase and so are many aspects of our society. The task for those developing new offerings changes.

As an example of how the new world works, I added Chris Andersons ”The long tail”. In traditional industrial thinking you need large volumes for making profit. But when products become digital, for example music, you can actually make a lot of money from selling many different products, and few of each – as the cost of sales and distribution is so low. So instead of seeing outdated products as dead meat, you see it as a potential – because the world has changed.

Look at my comparisons page to compare these models with the overall shift of focus.

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