With the change in marketing environment, intense competition, customer’s preferences and tastes, product life also changes. Product also passes through four product phases:
Introduction: in this stage product is relatively undifferentiated; sales are low; price generally
high; distribution is selective; increasing brand awareness is the aim of promotion; almost no profit and competitor on site. The strategy is to establish market.
Growth: in this stage there may be increase in sales growth; profit begins to rise; there is differentiation in form of new product
features; distribution becomes intense; there is improvement in quality of product; price can be maintained or reduced; competitors become entering into the product production as to seize the opportunities. The strategy is market penetration.
Maturity: in this stage, there is product differentiation and modification; competition is intense; price reduction is likely; likely there are new distribution channels; there is emphasis on building brand loyalty; profit goes down ; market saturation is reached; the strategy is differentiation , diversification and to maintain market share and extend the product life.
Decline: in this stage, the approach is to reduce cost and to harvest it; profits diminish; the option may include to discontinue the product or to find new use for it.
Branding is the entire process involved in creating a unique brand for a product.
Brand is the identity of a product; it is a product’s personality. A name, sign, term, design, slogan, symbol or a combination these are forms of a brand. Through brand, a firm intends to identify its goods and services and differentiate itself and its product from those of other sellers.
Brand connects target segment emotionally; it delivers the message clearly; it also confirms credibility; it motivates the buyer; it consolidates user loyalty. Let us define these two concepts: brand equity and brand evaluation. Brand equity is the positive differential effect that knowing the brand name has on customer response to the product. A measure of a brand’s equity is the extent to which customers are willing to pay more for the brand. Brand evaluation is the process of estimating the total financial value of a brand.
Major brand strategies
To build strong brand, here are major brand strategy decisions:
1. Brand positioning: focusing on attributes, benefits, beliefs, and values
2. Brand name selection: selection of the name; protection of the name
3. Brand sponsorship: it can be manufacture’s , private, licensing or co-branding
Service is defined as any activity or benefit that one party can offer to another that is essentially intangible and does not result in the ownership of anything. Service marketing is influenced by the service characteristics which are listed below:
1. Intangibility , for example , the service of car repairers; doctors consulting
2. Variability : depending on various factors, the service quality car repairer varies
3. Inseparability: for example, the service of a haircut and a barber
4. Perishability: example, a service of a seat booked to fly to Mombasa tomorrow on local airlines, if not used will perish
Unlike the tangible product, service marketing also has a unique marketing mix. The service mix includes: the common 4Ps (product, price, promotion and place) and people, process, physical presence, and productivity.