What is Maturity Stage?
The maturity stage is the third stage of the product life cycle (PLC) where the sales, profits, and competition are at the highest peak and the firms are eagerly involved in sales promotional activities to maintain a competitive position in the market. Due to keen competition and availability of more substitute products at the end of this stage, the sales and profits start to decrease.
At this point, many companies enter the market with a wide range of products. Because price, promotion, and product competition are at an all-time high, every company is attempting to maintain a competitive advantage (such as a lower price, product features, or an extended warranty) for as long as possible in order to capitalize on the still sizable demand.
Product specialization and market segmentation are becoming more prevalent. Many businesses attempt to provide a full range of products, i.e. they employ a product-mix strategy in order to satisfy all types of customers from a single location. Because the market is saturated, sellers try to attract customers by offering discounts and giving away free samples of their products.
As a result, producer and retailer profits start to fall. Thus, in this maturity stage, the main objective of the marketer is to realize differential advantage and maintain a good position in the market.
Characteristics of Maturity Stage
The common characteristics of the maturity stage of the product cycle are mentioned below.
Competition is at the Peak
Since the entrance of competitors were started from the growth stage, in this stage the competition reaches a peak as the opportunities are generated all-time high.
The perfect competition exists in the market, customers are flooded by all types of products at affordable prices, the competition is about to attract more customers as best possible way.
Sales and Profits at the Peak But Start to Decline
In this stage, marketing firms realize the all-time high sales and profits. There is the highest number of customers, the closing of the sale is at the highest volume, so the profits of the firms.
The competition has an adverse effect on this stage, due to perfect competition requires a high focus on sales promotion activities, as a result, in the end, the sales and profits begin to drop.
Entrance of Diverse Products
In this stage, there seem all-time highest opportunities to the marketers. So they start to enter the market, the market flooded by the diverse products, products lines, price lining, product mix are implemented. Through the diverse product’s entry, customers get diverse choices as they want.
Market Segmentation Increases
The idea of market segmentation is realized in this stage. A big market is divided into a number of segments in order to best meet the expected need of the selected segments of the market. The seller is increasingly involved in segmentation, choosing a segment that best meets his sales goals & objectives, and stepping into it.
Product Specialization Increases
Market segmentation and product specialization are two salient features of the maturity stage. Product specialization helps firms to attract and win the specific market segments since it focuses on branding and selling specific products to specific customers. This is done to marketize quality products that aim to attract quality potential customers.
Sales Promotion is Assumed
Many firms try to heavily invest in promotion and market segmentation activities at this stage. In addition, firms should place a greater emphasis on product positioning in the market, because mass advertising alone does not achieve the company’s primary goal at this stage.
Similarly, sales promotion strategy (i.e., gift-giving, sample distribution, discounts, and warranties) is now a significant promotion strategy in this circumstance because simple (i.e., advertising) does not work well.
Maturity Stage Strategy
The main goal of the maturity stage strategies is to win the customer’s expectation and stabilize the differential position. Since the competition is inevitable yet keen all efforts are directed to beat the competitors. The following strategies may be applied in the maturity stage.
In this stage, the product should be the foremost focus, since the competition is perfect the product should be distinct in any way yet positively quality, features, design, cost, etc. The marketers need to add additional benefits to the existing product with attractive performance that attracts potential clients.
In addition, the focus should be given to product positioning. So far the existing products become old in this stage, the introduction of new attractive products is found in the practice.
Here price of the product plays a crucial role in getting differential benefits. Since there are diverse products and ranges of prices, customers will prefer the prices as their needs and capacity.
In this stage, the price needs to be set lower as compared to the introduction and growth stage. The price needs to be competitive with studying the competitiveness of the market, it should be capable to compete with the competition.
The marketer should focus on expanding distribution outlets. In addition, distribution portals should be established at many places as possible. Consumers prefer the distributor (seller) who delivers products at the right time and right place at a fair price. Thus the products ordered by consumers should be delivered on time and to the desired place.
In the maturity stage, mass communication and huge advertising do not work well. The market is full of different products and prices, customers have choices on what they want. Furthermore, they want other benefits along with the products. They need to be influenced.
Thus, here the use of sales promotion strategy is at an all-time high giving discount, free gifts, psychological persuasion, free samples, warranties, etc. work greatly to tempt customers to buy. The promotional tools should be used appropriately.
Market Segmentation Strategy
Market segmentation is when a whole market is divided into its sub-parts and studied every sub-parts to select the most feasible one. The marketer should segment the market and study carefully and select the best one that best has potential opportunities and fits with the firm’s sales goals and resources.
As we have discussed, in the maturity stage, there is keen competition, a marketer should not forget the competitiveness of the market while setting sales goals. To meet the competition, the marketer should analyze the strengths and weaknesses of his organization as well as the market. And, set a plan that has the best potential to meet the present competition and reach near to the competitive goal.