Deprecated: mysql_connect(): The mysql extension is deprecated and will be removed in the future: use mysqli or PDO instead in /home/a26f9f83/public_html/articles/includes/config.php on line 159
From Birth to Death > NetSparsh - Viral Content you Love & Share

From Birth to Death

Your product is dying. With the same inevitability that we humans move ever closer to death, so does every software application move towards its eventual demise.

The difference is that we have become increasingly competent at caring for ourselves and each other with the result that our chances of a longer and fuller life continue to increase with time. We have learned to recognise our own and each other's positions in the life cycle, and become aware that we have the means and ability to provide the care and environment necessary for our continued survival and prosperity. We nurture and care for our small children, and accept and encourage their ability to stand on their own two feet as part of their journey towards the day they will become are fully self-supporting. In due course, they will care for us when we become old, and in turn will one day be supported by their own children.

And so to software. A product's life cycle is not much different from our own, yet despite our ability to cater for our own changing needs, many of us are quite oblivious to the needs of our products and software as time goes on. The concept of the Product Life Cycle is a simple one, and allows you to see where your product stands at any one time, and to assess what circumstances lie ahead, by providing the information that you need in order to react accordingly. In much the same way that we do not wait for a child`s teenage years before starting their education, or for an older person to become so frail that they are unable to care for themselves, we should not wait for the negative points in a product's life cycle to be so obvious that it is too late to respond effectively.

There are four stages in the Product Life Cycle each with their own recognisable symptoms, threats and opportunities, all of which should be addressed individually.

The Early Days

Firstly, the Introduction stage. When a new product is introduced to the market, the initial impact is usually very slight, and spotting any emerging patterns is often close to impossible. You're likely to enter the market with only the barest of ripples, let alone a splash. There are exceptions to this. Large advertising budgets, hype, pre-launch public interest and new technologies may all increase the initial visibility of a product's launch. Yet even a high-visibility campaign will take time for customers to learn that a product is available, and time for a significant demand to build up and become apparent. For most of us, even with the most stringent of marketing budgets, viable profits at this stage are unlikely, and the possibility of actual short-term loss a very real one.

So how long should this stage last? The answer is almost impossible to estimate with any degree of accuracy, as there are so many variables involved. So much depends on the market demand for the software, the marketing budget, visibility and so on.The basic strategy at this stage is simply to get the product "out there", and draw as much attention to it as is possible.

Growing Up

Next in the product's life cycle is the Growth stage. If all goes according to plan, this stage should be easy to recognise both in terms of sales and profits. But the risk is that many companies will simply sit back and enjoy the ride and the success. Absolutely not! The growth cycle is the time to aggressively seek-out new opportunities, and to gain as much of the market share as possible. Some fairly clear patterns should start to emerge quite quickly at this stage, and it is usually obvious what is working and what is wasting your time. Look for three factors. The "successful" factors need to be looked at, studied and improved. If a magazine editor gives you a glowing write-up, capitalise on this by actively seek-out more magazines, more editors and more glowing write-ups!

The "intermediate" factors are a little less obvious. Results in this category tend to be steady and uninspiring, but can show potential for improvement ? only if you spot them. If for example you're getting a significant amount of traffic from one or two of the search engines, then people must be actively seeking what you sell. So get on more of the search-engines, and spend some time on improving your position.

And finally, the "On the Way Out" factor, which is the easiest to spot, yet also the easiest to ignore. You may like spending time on constantly optimising and improving your website, but when you reach a certain point, the amount of time required to do so outweighs the actual results. Anything that you're doing that consumes time with nothing or little to show for it should be avoided. Move on.

The Mature Product

The next point in the product's life cycle is the Maturity stage. The euphoria of the growth stage slows down to a more steady and sedate pace, which can often offer an abundance of opportunities, and can also pose some potential threats. Your competition is likely to be at it's fiercest during this stage, and the level and success of your marketing will almost certainly prove to be a critical factor in your product's success. The Maturity stage is quite similar to human adulthood. Massive growth is unlikely, and as long as we accept our age and take care of ourselves, we can reasonably look forward to a long and healthy future, both for us and our products.

Increasing the market share during the Maturity stage is possible, but will probably not prove to be very cost effective. Right now, the product is more likely to be affected by trends in the market than at any other time. Assuming that demand remains healthy, then marketing, promotion, advertising and visibility are of the utmost importance in order to maintain rather than increase. New packaging can help to rejuvenate a product during the Maturity stage, as may new sales methods, or aggressive competition either with the product's features or price.

The Happy Pensioner

Finally, the Decline stage in the Product Life Cycle . The human Golden Years are not the death agonies. In the same way that most pensioners enjoy many long and happy final years, so too can your product! Round about this time a common error is to misread short-term fluctuations, and misinterpret them as the beginning of the Decline stage. Although the Product Life Cycle is theoretically a smooth and quite elegant curve, the reality is that there are constant variations that may be down to any number of external factors. The diagram below demonstrates the point, and shows a realistic model against the theoretical one.

The Decline stage does not mean that it's time to abandon your product altogether, but that new and appropriate strategies may be in order. For software, this may mean new versions and features, adaptation to newer operating systems and hardware, price reductions, in short, whatever is required to prolong the life of the product.

Try applying the concept of the Product Life Cycle model to your application. You should be able to implement quite a few new options and strategies once you have identified the current stage in your product`s life cycle, and in the market itself. While the Product Life Cycle concept is useful, it is equally important to consider the external factors, particularly in response to the Decline phase. My own favourite way of looking at these external factors is the PEST analysis; Political, Economic, Social and Technological. Take all of this information into account before applying any form of life cycle based strategies.

Applying the Product Life Cycle to your application will allow you to take a step back from the day-to-day running of your business, and to see objectively where you are, and what opportunities and threats lie ahead. You can use the information that this technique gives you to ensure that your marketing efforts are not mistimed, inappropriate and ineffective. As Sinatra said ? It was a Very Good Year. Do it right. Be seen, be sold.

Copyright 2005 SharewarePromotions Ltd

Dave Collins is the CEO of SharewarePromotions Ltd., a well established UK-based software and shareware marketing company. Are your software sales slow? Find out how to promote your software across the web and multiply your sales level at http://www.sharewarepromotions.com

In The News:

This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news

Forbes

Free Marketing Tools Every Small Business Marketer Should Try
Forbes
Got big plans for your small business, but only a tiny marketing budget? You're not alone. According to the Wasp Barcode Small Business Report, 42% of small businesses invest 3% or less of their revenue into marketing. But maybe that isn't such a big ...


Motley Fool

Small Businesses Are Saving Facebook
Motley Fool
The vast majority of those advertisers fall into the small and medium-sized business category. Ad spending from those small businesses is more than making up for any declines from big brand advertisers on Facebook during the first half of the year ...

and more »

Forbes

Google Can Now Predict When You Will Die...And Other Small Business Tech News This Week
Forbes
Here are five things in technology that happened this past week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them? 1 — Google AI can predict when you will die. Google is currently training a new artificial intelligence computer to predict whether ...

and more »

Small business calendar
Minneapolis Star Tribune
SMALL BUSINESS RESOURCES: "Find information, advisers, assistance, as well as financial sources, to further your business ideas." Registration required. 6-7:30 p.m. Free. Brooklyn Park Library, 8600 Zane Av. N., Brooklyn Park. 612-543-6225.


How A Small Business Is Handling Steel Tariffs
NPR
Jeff Padnos helps run his family's scrap recycling business in Holland, Mich., that was started by his grandfather in 1905. Mr. Padnos, thanks so much for being with us. JEFF PADNOS: Thank you, Scott, for the opportunity. SIMON: Will these tariffs ...

and more »

Crain's Cleveland Business

Personal view: Entrepreneurs, small business owners know nobody grows alone
Crain's Cleveland Business
In 2015, JumpStart launched a festival-style summer event called Startup Scaleup. Our idea was to bring together all the different people we work with — tech founders, investors, small business owners, corporate leaders, public sector leaders and the ...


Times of San Diego

Opinion: What I've Learned as a Small Business Owner
Times of San Diego
The best advice I have before opening a business is following something you are extremely passionate about. From a very young age, dance and music spoke to my heart and filled me with complete joy. Singing and dancing were reasons why I existed.


Small Business Trends

Facebook Tools for Video Creators Generate New Small Business Opportunities
Small Business Trends
Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) announced it is updating the tools it launched for the creator community earlier this year. They will now have new ways in which they can engage with their communities and build a business on Facebook while at the same time ...

and more »

The Boston Globe

Salon owner Mendes receives Chamber's Small Business Award
The Boston Globe
Shellee Mendes, the secret behind Steven Tyler's iconic rock 'n' roll locks was awarded the 2018 Small Business Award by the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce last week. Before she was giving the Aerosmith star hair extensions, Mendes was a mother ...


The Verge

Supreme Court's internet sales tax ruling may be a nightmare for small businesses
The Verge
In the wake of yesterday's Supreme Court ruling, e-commerce companies are understandably both concerned and uncertain of their future. The 5-4 verdict overruled a 1992 precedent set by the case Quill v. North Dakota that only addressed mail-order ...
Small business owner says online sales tax ruling levels playing fieldWTHITV.com
Memphis small business concerned about Supreme Court ruling on sales taxFOX13 Memphis
The internet sales tax is going to pummel small businessesThe Week Magazine
CNBC -Boston Herald -Supreme Court
all 2,912 news articles »
Google News

Real World Accounting for Small Business Owners

If you're like me, you love accounting. It's so fascinating... Read More

The Wrap on Ag Plastic

While driving through Pennsylvania farmland, you have probably noticed an... Read More

Franchising and Royalty Payments

If you are thinking of turning your current into a... Read More

Chamber Membership will BOOST your Business

When is the Chamber ideal for your business?Joining a Chamber... Read More

A Small Business Consultant Can Help in Many Ways... But One Thing He Can?t Provide

A consultant must remember that the business belongs to the... Read More

Why are Reverse Mergers Often the Victims of Short Sellers?

There is a great deal of abuse going on in... Read More

Are You Ready to Own and Operate a Business?

How often has someone thought of starting a business based... Read More

How to Protect Yourself & Your Business

As a business owner, you already know how important it... Read More

Small Business Marketing, According to Seinfeld

What could Seinfeld possibly have to do with marketing a... Read More

The Types of Skip Trace Accounts

First, we need to define the different kinds of skip... Read More

Small Business Opportunities Magazine Business

A Small Business Opportunities Magazine is one of the new... Read More

Tell Me The Reasons Why I Should Believe You?

Have you ever heard the phrase, 'PREPONDERANCE OF PROOF'?I recently... Read More

How Small Business And Nonprofits Can Afford Multimedia For The Web

Multimedia is everywhere on the Internet, whether in the form... Read More

432 Page Franchise Report by the FTC

The Federal Trade Commission is upgrading the franchise law and... Read More

How To Cut Expenses And Manage Your Business

If you own a small business, you should know that... Read More

Winning in Business - Lessons from Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong this week won an unprecedented 7th Tour de... Read More

We Know Who THEY Are

Am I the only one that does not have an... Read More

Dynamics of Daylight Savings Time on Service Businesses in the United States

The Dynamics of Daylight Savings Time changes the way we... Read More

Naming Your Business: 3 Tips To Ensure Success

If you are just starting your business, or if you... Read More

Do Home Businesses Complicate Small Business Debt Collection Laws?

The home-based business market, sometimes called the SOHO (small-office/home-office) market,... Read More

Virtual Assistance for Healthcare Professionals

Administrative and clerical tasks are the bane of every industry.... Read More

Self Serve Car Washes in the United States

In the 2003 Auto Laundry News Survey it was determined... Read More

Get Free Payroll Forms Download from the Internet

Having a successful business means also having a good working... Read More

Top Ten Blunders Business Owners Make

In today's marketplace the words 'job security' have become an... Read More

Doing Business With Friends: Five Tips for Preserving the Friendship... and Your Sanity!

My colleague, Jane, recently lamented to me an all too... Read More