A Study on Management Strategies at the Growth Stage of Product Life Cycle
In the growth stage, the target customers quickly change to innovators, early adopters, and early majority as time progresses. Compared with the case of a maturity stage, the range of customers' product preferences is considered wider and their speed of change is faster. In order to follow these changes, organizations must continue to introduce new products strategically to a target market. This research contains two parts, the development of the strategies at the growth stage and the application of the suggested strategies to the current industrial market as an empirical study. The strategies are designed by considering the fitness of the increase of customer preferences and the strategic market positions of each player in the market. Therefore, two factors, "the degree of product variety" and "the degree of product similarity", of each organization are analyzed. After the analysis, the four types of product development strategies at the growth stage are defined by classification based on the strength of each factor. The strategies are Leader strategy, Proactive challenger strategy, Reactive challenger strategy, and Follower strategy. Each strategy defines the effective product positioning and enables identification of a more effective new product development management. In the part of empirical study, the portable MD (MiniDisc) player industry, which is a fast growing audio hardware market in Japan, is selected as an example. The result shows that the suggested strategies can be applied for product development management such as an effective use in selecting product positioning, when an organization develops new products.
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