The Product Life Cycle- It's Role in Marketing Strategy...

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The Product Life Cycle: It's Role in Marketing StrategyAuthor(s): David GardnerSource: Die Unternehmung,Vol. 41, No. 3 (1987), pp. 219-231Published by: Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft mbHStable URL: Accessed: 12-05-2020 20:55 UTCREFERENCES Linked references are available on JSTOR for this article: You may need to log in to JSTOR to access the linked references.JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a widerange of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity andfacilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact [email protected]Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available atNomos Verlagsgesellschaft mbHis collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extendaccess to Die UnternehmungThis content downloaded from 108.18.150.2 on Tue, 12 May 2020 20:55:46 UTCAll use subject to
David GardnerThe Product Life CycleIt's Role in Marketing StrategyHofer (1975, p. 798) argues that "the most fundamental variable indetermining an appropriate business strategy is the stage of the product lifecycle". Likewise, Biggadike (1981) identified the product life cycle as one ofthe five major contributions that marketing has made to strategic management. And the Boston Consulting Group's famous portfolio approach isimplicitly based on the product life cycle concept. Michael Porter (1980,p. 157) recognizes the product life cycle as "the grandfather of concepts forpredicting the probable course of industry evolution".Yet, with all this promise, with all this expressed confidence, many of us arevery uneasy with ascribing much more than descriptive relevance to the product life cycle. Most would agree with Day in his 1981 review of the productlife cycle:There is a tremendous ambivalence toward the product life cycle conceptwithin marketing. On one hand, the concept has an enduring appeal becauseof the intuitive logic of the product birth—growth—maturity—declinesequence based on a biological analogy. As such, it has considerable descriptive value when used as a systematic framework for explaining marketdynamics. However, the simplicity of the product life cycle concept makes itvulnerable to criticism, especially when it is used as a predictive model foranticipating when changes will occur and one stage will succeed another, oras a normative model which attempts to prescribe what alternativestrategies should be considered at each stage. (Day 1981, p. 60)There seems to be a common consensus that the product life cycle has descriptive value but very little prescriptive value. This is most unfortunate for aconcept that has such a seemingly central role in both marketing and businessDavid Gardner is Professor of Business Administration and Marketing at the University of Illi

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