Product Lifecycle Stages

A product lifecycle describes the different stages that a product goes through, from initial R&D and launch, to the day a market decline signals it’s time to pull the plug. Within each stage, there are opportunities to create engaging content. Check out the video below for an intro to the subject

The Product Lifecycle Stages and Your Content Calendar

There are four stages in a product lifecycle. Each one represents a different phase of product performance and what your audience wants. Let’s break it down by stage and talk about what should be on your content calendar for each of them.

Stage One: Introduction

In the introduction stage, you’ve been through creative concepting and development. It’s now time to introduce the product to the world. The product hasn’t generated any revenue yet, and there’s likely competition in the field.

So, how can you develop content for an introduction? Think about the pillars of content marketing and how it should acknowledge your audience’s challenges and help them find solutions. That’s basically the aim of your product.

In this product lifecycle stage, you should focus on content that addresses how this product will deliver a remedy, as well as how it works and why it’s different. As an enterprise content team, you have the resources to develop different types of content that will fill this role, such as:

  • Explainer videos
  • Comparison infographics (your new product vs. what’s leading the market)
  • Blogs about why you developed the product
  • Community building content for early adopters (i.e., social media campaigns that solicit user-generated content)
  • Interviews with product owners about the development and future of the product

Stage Two: Growth

The growth stage is often the most critical phase for a product. It’s beginning to pick up momentum, and sales are climbing. The product is on the cusp of being profitable and needs content to support it.

At this point, you have users, and you should certainly use their experiences to create content. This includes case studies, both written and video. Your early adopters are now loyal users, and sharing their stories will mean much more to audiences than what you have to say.

Growth period content should also include blog topics that substantiate how the product removes challenges and how it’s evolving to fit new needs. For instance, products in the growth stage before the pandemic likely had to retool after.

Another good idea for growth stage content is data-driven whitepapers. Your product has been on the market for some time. You should have data around its capabilities and how it has made an impact. Taking these data points and weaving together a story will be impactful. Plus, it’s an excellent option for gated content that can deliver lead generation results.

Stage Three: Maturity

Once a product hits maturity, it’s making money. At this point, the product has become indispensable to your audience, and you’ve gained market share. However, that doesn’t mean you should abandon content efforts.

Don’t allow maturity to become complacency. If you do, your competitors will strike. This is the ultimate stage for building thought leadership content. Now your organization is a veteran in the industry. You have experience and expertise to share.

You can focus on thought leadership in many ways. Here are some ideas:

  • Guest posts in industry publications
  • Podcasts and webinars with product SMEs (subject matter experts) and customers
  • Visual and interactive content that shows the progression of your product and how it’s grown to satisfy user needs
  • Social media Q&As that open up a dialogue between your leaders and audience

The focus of your content planning in this stage is not to lose momentum. There are still new customers to introduce to your product. Novel applications could arise in this stage as well, attracting a new type of buyer.

Stage Four: Decline

Does every product hit a decline? It depends. Products that keep reinventing themselves don’t, but sometimes decline is inevitable due to market saturation or changes in buyer motivations.

We live in a world where brands become dinosaurs or they end up obsolete. However, the best and brightest are masters of reinvention. Look no further than brands like IBM, LEGO, Apple, and Netflix. These brands started strong, started to become obsolete, and then re-engineered their products and approach. Now, they’re all back on top.

Is there an opportunity for content in the decline stage? Sure, but the focus should be on reinvention. You could develop thought leadership posts and videos that talk about a product’s future and why you’re going to innovate it or kill it. This type of content may seem a bit risky, but why not be honest and authentic with your audience? They’ll respect you for it and look forward to what you do next.


Maintaining Alignment Between Product Lifecycle and Your Content Calendar

For large content teams, it’s never easy to stay aligned and organized. One big part of this is ensuring you have a content inventory, so you know how each content project aligns with persona, topic, buyer stage, and product lifecycle. With lots of different players, it can be overwhelming. It’s certainly not something you want to leave in the hands of spreadsheets.

Instead, choose content marketing software that allows you to create, share, and update content calendars with ease. Having such a tool enables you to maintain alignment.

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