You are in all likelihood familiar with the standard product life cycle graph. A product increases in popularity, levels out, and then declines. This graph is helpful for countless reasons, but don’t accept the decline stage as the end. Plan ahead with innovation to renew the product life cycle and restart the upward trend.
Here are five ways to intervene with innovation and renew the product life cycle:
1. Combine your product or service with another one. Giving the “best of both worlds” to your clients.
2. If your product has become the “industry standard” look for new features or improvements and offer an upgraded version. Consider multiple levels or versions of your product to maximize its reach.
3. Will your product create new markets or change the existing one? Consider the impact of your product before you release it. Then immediately begin working on new innovations for the shifted market. Restart the product life cycle by adding new innovations that enhance your original product.
4. Is your product is ending its life cycle and doesn’t stand a chance for renewal? Even if the technology is out of date in your region, are there other places that could still benefit from your product? Consider repackaging and adjusting the product for a new niche market or new regions.
5. If your product has been proprietary consider opening it up to the open source community. Allow developers to build in new features to your product, or deploy it in their own applications. This can really breathe new life into a product. How this is done really depends on the type of product you have and how you want to generate income.
The basic concept behind renewing the product life cycle is to add new value to your product. If you add enough new value, you will restart the product life cycle.
Warning! You should consider the impact of each of these options on your brand. Don’t let your organization get pulled away from your brand promise. Products do not outlast brands.