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The Product Life Cycle Concept: Buried or Resurrected by the Diffusion Literature?

Steffens, Paul R. (2002) The Product Life Cycle Concept: Buried or Resurrected by the Diffusion Literature? In Academy of Management Conference, Technology and Innovation Management Division, August 9-14, Denver, Colorado. (Unpublished)

Abstract

The Product Life Cycle (PLC) concept is a well-known marketing strategy and planning tool. The concept is based on a simple biological analogy of stages over a product's "life," which is intuitively appealing, but unfortunately has limited utility in practice. For such a prominent marketing tool, the lack of both a focus on consumers and a theoretical basis is surprising. Diffusion of innovation models and theory offer considerable promise to provide a theoretical basis for the PLC. To date, diffusion models have been limited to explaining and forecasting PLC sales patterns. This paper consolidates this literature to develop an over-arching conceptual PLC model and managerial tool for consumer durables. The approach defines the new PLC phases based on some key consumer trends during product-market evolution, resulting in a four-phased PLC model: Innovation  Imitation  Repeat  Substitute. New marketing strategy implications emerge for each phase due to this additional focus on consumers. The model is operationalized using diffusion models, thereby providing a basis for both identifying and predicting PLC transitions. The types of data that need to be collected to fully operationalize and test this PLC model are discussed. The new PLC model does not ignore variations in PLC sales patterns. Rather, it provides an opportunity to explain such sales pattern variations and determine the underlying conditions that lead to different PLC shapes. An empirical illustration of the new PLC model is presented.

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ID Code: 6522
Item Type: Conference Paper
Additional Information: Author contact details: p.steffens@qut.edu.au
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Product Life Cycle, Diffusion of Innovations, Consumer Durables, Paul Steffens
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > MARKETING (150500) > Marketing not elsewhere classified (150599)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Australian Centre for Entrepreneurship
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Management
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2002 (please consult author)
Deposited On: 29 Mar 2007
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2011 23:30

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