Linking promotional activity to the product life cycle
A BIC case study

Page 0: Introduction

Most large companies produce a variety of goods and services designed to meet consumers' needs and requirements. Consumers' expectations and requirements change over time, so firms need to develop new products. Market focused companies use market research to identify these trends. They are continually developing new products, some of which are completely new ideas, while others are improvements on...
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Page 1: Products for consumers at affordable prices

BIC was founded in 1950 by Marcel Bich with the introduction of the first high quality ballpoint pen at an affordable price. In 1975 BIC launched the first one-piece shaver and become a market leader within that sector too. In the early days, BIC concentrated on a core range of products which mainly included: BIC Cristal® and Orange Ball Pen and the Classic Shaver. In the 1990s the...
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Page 2: The Boston matrix and BIC products

Multi-product businesses like BIC are aware of how products in their entire portfolio contribute to the overall growth of the business. Established profitable lines make a vital contribution that enables a company to invest in the development and promotion of new lines. The Boston Group developed 'The Boston box' or matrix. This relates closely to product life cycles and identifies four classes...
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Page 3: Developing the product range

The Cristal range of pens demonstrate how to inject new life into a product range: BIC's Cristal Ball pen was launched in 1951. It has over 30% market share and is the UK's best-selling ball pen. In 1964 BIC launched BIC Orange. This is a fine-point version of the Cristal pen, easily recognised by its orange barrel. In the 1990s, as the Cristal and Orange Ball pens became more mature and...
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Page 4: The product life cycle and promotional activity

BIC analyses its products, and promotes and supports these in line with their stage in the product life cycle. For example, BIC Cristal and the Classic shaver have a long life cycle and although they have had technological improvements over the years and are produced using more advanced manufacturing techniques, the style and design of these products have not changed. They are still recognisable...
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Page 5: Conclusion

Businesses that understand the Boston Box and product life cycles are able to target appropriate promotional activities to support the various products in their portfolio. Well established products such as BIC Cristal and Classic shaver are the cash cows that enable BIC to thrive by developing its stars and some of its question marks in line with market needs. BIC is an innovative...
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