Product Marketing Changes at Every Company Stage
May 20, 2022 Edwin Kooistra
When we talk about product marketing, we refer to all the different steps and stages that a company must undergo to bring a new product to the market. This includes several activities, including market segmentation, defining the product’s market positioning, and even educating the sales force regarding the features and attributes of the product, to name a few.
This, of course, is a common practice for all different industries and business types. But yes, it does evolve in relevance where a business or organization is in its life cycle. This is because the opportunities, threats, and market dynamics are different at various stages of a business’s life cycle, and they keep on developing.
Therefore, efforts and activities put in by the product marketing team keep on transforming as a company progresses in its journey, whether with an upward trajectory or downwards.
In this article, we’ll take a look at product marketing company stages and also tell you how companies can effectively run product life cycle analysis.
Let’s get started.
What Product Marketing Looks Like at Each Company Stage?
As discussed above, product marketing looks very different across industries and businesses, and when we look at the various stages and growth phases in which these companies are. Product marketing for your business will look very different when you look across various stages.
When you started your business, the focus of your product marketing team might have been on finding the right product-market fit or understanding the market further to develop your business’s go-to-market strategy.
Once you started entering the market and reached a particular stage of steady growth, the product marketing strategy might have evolved further towards market penetration and expansion.
A firm can determine which stage a particular product is in by looking at specific indicators such as the current realm of focus, present opportunities, and challenges.
To further understand this concept of identifying the stage and evolution of product marketing tactics, we shall now explore product marketing company stage examples.
How Do Companies Identify if They’re in the Seed Stage?
Businesses and organizations can identify themselves as being in the seed stage when their primary focus is on determining their product-market fit.
This is the case when most of their internal and external resources are directed towards deciding what they are about to offer and who would be willing to buy it and what would be the motivation behind the purchase?
This is a stage where you’re developing a customer persona and even, at times, a minimum viable product that you want to test in the market. Here, of course, you would also be looking at how your product or service is solving a unique problem or would be able to fill in a particular void in the market.
An example of product marketing done during this stage is that of Spotify. When Napster eventually died out due to different issues, including copyright claims, Spotify already knew that there was a market available for such a product; therefore, the streaming service ( at that point just a start-up) started testing their product in the market to help them develop a product-market fit.
We can now understand and see that the efforts put into product marketing at the seed stage have revealed excellent results for Spotify. It has become the world’s top-rated music streaming app, evolving according to customers’ needs.
That being said, a lot of businesses find this task hard.
Determining the stages of product marketing is hard in the life cycle for a variety of reasons.
First, it can be difficult to ascertain when a product reaches a stage, as the stages can differ across various industries and companies.
Second, most products go through multiple stages at once because each stage is so complex.
Third, different industries and companies have their own unique processes for marketing products. For example, Apple focuses on design while Amazon focuses on customer service.
This is where we can help you. Chasm’s market validation and evaluation service provides actionable customer insights through interviews to assist manage risk and obtain knowledge on whether your product has enough value for the market.
This is a prerequisite for allocating limited resources and making any key decisions, regardless of where you are in the process.
How Do Companies Identify if They’re in an Early Stage?
Companies can recognize that they are in the early stage of the company life cycle when in this realm, they are focused on different matters of distribution and efficiency, such as testing other distribution channels or finding different cost-efficient ways while reaching out to the customers.
They’re also developing strategies to reach out to customers on a larger scale at this stage as they’ve already entered the market. Also, the focus is on the future to grow further and enhance its reach.
The example to quote here would be that of HelloFresh, a healthy meal kit service provider. In 2011 HelloFresh started its operations with just ten meal kits in Berlin, Germany. They began marketing their product on various platforms and competitions to secure funding for their distribution operations.
Once they saw the product’s success, they started looking for different avenues and options for distribution, which, of course, required heavy investment for scaling purposes.
HelloFresh is the number one eCommerce-based meal kit provider service in the USA and is publicly listed and traded in Frankfurt, Germany.
How Companies Identify if They’re in the Growth Stage
An organization can realize and recognize that they are in the growth phase when they see a steady pattern of growth in their sales. Not only that they can recognize their presence in this stage when they have found a compatible product market fit and are aware of the most optimum channels to use when reaching out to their customers.
For a company, this is known as the growth stage. You are enjoying and basking in the success of your business at this stage, but you do need to worry about how you will be able to cope with the decline or, hopefully, a maturity stage that might come.
At this stage of the company life cycle, the product marketing looks very different from the previous steps. The effort focuses on increasing sales within the market segment you have already penetrated and growing customer lifetime value.
Here the product marketing team is developing relevant content even to snatch possible customers from the competitors and find avenues to retain the ones they already have.
A betting example of a company practicing product marketing in the growth stage is Tesla. Although electric vehicles are already present in the market, as a saturation point has not been reached, much potential is still available.
A promising example of a company that is currently experiencing its growth stage is Amazon. Amazon is continuously disrupting the retail sector by utilizing the power of its e-commerce platform.
Amazon is reporting an average of 18% increase in its net sales every year since 2020. They are continuously expanding and investing in new ventures. An example of such an expansion is Alexa, the virtual assistant which has taken the world by storm.
How Companies Identify If They’re in Expansion/Mature Stage
You can identify that your business has reached the expansion maturity stage if the price point for your product and service is stabilized and the market has saturated. Your market share remains stable here, and price wars with competitors are significantly less common.
Promotion and advertising to increase sales are no longer a priority, and most of the product marketing efforts are being made to stand out and differentiate from the competitors.
IBM is an example of a company operating in this sphere of its lifecycle. IBM no longer advertises or creates content under its product marketing realm to attract customers or increase market penetration. Instead, the product marketing team and its efforts are more focused on sustaining the niche and brand image.
In their marketing campaigns, you are refreshingly reminded of their values and what they’re offering to the customer, and how they have been able to sustain it over a period.
How Can Companies Do Product Life Cycle (PLC) Analysis?
Now that we have understood the different characteristics of life cycle stages for an organization and how product marketing keeps evolving throughout these stages, we shall look at how a business can conduct a product life cycle analysis to help them derive valuable and actionable insights from the exercise.
Step 1 – Identify the Characteristics of the Life Cycle
The first and foremost stage in the product life cycle analysis is that you must identify the different characteristics that perform and define the various stages of the life cycle.
These characteristics include industry dynamics, product characteristics, product processes, technology usage, etc. Once you have identified these characteristics and listed them down, you move on to the next step.
Step 2 – List Down the Same for Your Current Scenario
Here in this step, you will use the set of characteristics that you have identified for your business or its relevant products. You shall begin by listing down the current state of all of these properties for your business or organization.
For example, under industry dynamics, you might list down little to no competition, reflecting how the stage you are in is probably the seed or early stage.
Similarly, you must list down the current scenario for all the characteristics identified and then conclude at which of the four major stages, as discussed above, do you stand as a business or in case you are conducting this analysis for a particular product, then apply the same to that product line.
Step 3 – Developing the Model For Future Stages
You must conduct the same exercise for the next stage you foresee in the product life cycle. Let’s assume that you have identified that currently, your business is in its growth stage. Hence you should start defining different characteristics for the maturity stage as well. As a business grows and changes, so should its definition of maturity.
This is why it’s important to conduct an exercise for each stage in the product life cycle – because you’re going from being growth-oriented towards becoming more established with your customers before finally entering into decline or stagnation phase.
Step 4 – Study Your Opportunities and Threats
Finally, after conducting this analysis, you need to identify and study your opportunities and threats because these will help you strengthen different stages. Identifying these will also help in delaying your company’s decline stage and prolonging its growth stage. Lack of research into the market and target audience can prevent product failures.
As the company or business moves through its lifecycle, it encounters different challenges and opportunities. These challenges and opportunities require a particular focus set, and based on the characteristics, they need to be handled differently.
The marketing team must be proactive, especially in product marketing and its evolution alongside the different company stages, otherwise, you lose out on every stages’ best parts and opportunities.
At every product marketing company stages, you will face different marketing challenges. But these challenges if tackled efficiently will also open horizons for different growth opportunities.
Therefore, your product marketing team should adapt to the changing market and company dynamics and develop the best possible strategically planned market framework to match the company and product lifecycle.