A product line extension is the use of an accredited product brand name for a new item in the same product category. Line extensions occur when a company adds additional sections in the same product category and brand name.
What is Product’s Life Cycle
- In the introduction stage, marketing objectives are to create awareness and stimulate product trials.
- To achieve the growth stage, the company needs to maximize market share and penetration.
- Once the product reaches the maturity stage, the task will be to maximize profitability while defending the earned market share.
- When it begins to decline, the weak product will slowly phase out, minimize expenses, and centered on retaining cash flow and targeting hard-core loyal consumers.
How a company’s market evolves by expanding its product range?
Expansion strategy is utilized by an organization when it attempts to obtain high growth as compared to its former achievements.
As products move through four stages: introduction, growth, maturity, and decline, line expansion is crucial to companies that have products in the late stage of their life cycle. Additionally, this strategy is used by industries that have managers with a high quality of execution and perception.
Brand extensions are speedily enhancing their penetration in the customer market. Hence, brand and line extensions represent 95% of product introductions (Aaker, 1991).
We can use Gillette as an example. The brand covers several product lines, including blades and razors, toiletries, writing instruments, and lighters. Gillette’s line of blades and razors extended to Lady Gillette, Mach 3, Sensor, and others. Now, the company’s toiletries line provides Gillette Foamy, Dry Idea, and Right Guard, and its writing instruments line fits Paper Mate and Flair, which gives Gillette a wide range of product mix.
Four Steps to Expansion
A company can add a new product to expand its business by taking these four steps in advance:
- Determining the particular demands of consumers in every high-priority market segment.
- Identifying the most attractive product/service bundles (groups of features).
- Creating a unique value proposition for the proposed line extensions and determining how to position the product in the identified market segments.
- Manage the sales and distribution channels that will achieve the highest penetration of the target market segments.
A company can expand its product line in two ways: Line Filling and Line Stretching.
Both of these product line decisions require adding items to the line.
Line filling means adding more items within the existing range of the line.
Line stretching means lengthening the product line beyond the current range.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of expanding a product line?https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/71094
- Attract buyers with different preferences
- Increase profitability
- Seasonal sales patterns
- Compete more broadly in its industry
- Increasing the brand’s visibility
- Fulfilling customers needs –
- Customer Loyalty – When an established brand decides to extend its product range, they already have a customer base familiar with their product. So, by proposing additional offerings in the same category, they provide customers more possibilities to buy products from them rather than their competitors.
- Potential of overextension
- Cannibalize sales of older ones.
- Resources may be disproportionately siphoned off for slower-moving products.
- Shortage of cash
- Compromised quality – increasing the product output may lead to a drop in quality, which leads to a loss of customers or marketing.
Extensions may also negatively affect perceptions of the base brand (Aaker, 1991).
Aaker, D. A. (1991). Managing brand equity: capitalizing on the value of a brand name. New York : Toronto : New York: Free Press ; Maxwell Macmillan Canada ; Maxwell Macmillan International.
Aaker, D. A., and Keller, K. L. (1990). Consumer Evaluations of Brand Extensions. Journal of Marketing, 54: 27–41.
Claessens, M. Product Line Decisions – Building a strong Product Line. Marketing-Insider (on-line). https://marketing-insider.eu/marketing-explained/part-iii-designing-a-customer-driven-marketing-strategy-and-mix/product-line-decisions/. Accessed 13 February 2020.