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 worldwide.
Initially, when these products were launched, promotional activity would have focused on generating awareness and encouraging consumers to trial the products. Now that these products have become well established icons, the promotional emphasis is on rewarding loyal customers who continue to buy these products.
The illustration shows the way in which promotional activity is tailored to stages in the product life cycle.
When BIC launched the Comfort 3 razor, it chose Martin Johnson to represent the brand. BIC invested heavily in outdoor media such as billboards and conducted national press advertising to raise awareness.
With Cristal Gel, BIC carried out a large amount of below the line activity. To build awareness of the new product, BIC supplied existing Cristal Ball pen users with Cristal Gel samples through special promotional packs and other sampling campaigns to office users. This was supported by advertising and direct marketing.
During a product's growth period, BIC continues to use market research data to help it better understand market developments and consumer requirements. It also continues to support the product so that more and more consumers try it out and are converted into regular users. At this stage, advertising and special offers encourage new users to try the product.
As a product moves towards maturity, BIC's marketing experts need to identify ways of injecting new life into it. They must also identify new product developments that can meet similar consumer needs. This explains why, for example, BIC has developed extensions to the Cristal range.
Once a product has saturated a market, sales will stagnate. However, it is important to continue to support cash cows because they play a vital role in injecting profits that sustain new product development.
Once a product has moved into decline, a company like BIC will look to replace it with new products that meet existing and evolving consumer needs. For example, the razor Tough Beard was taken out of the product portfoliobecause other new BIC razors were better able to meet the needs of customers with 'tough beards'!