Strategic Options for Mature Products (by @RomanPichler )

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Option 1: Extend the Product Life Cycle

A number of techniques can help you make an ageing product attractive again including enhancing its capabilities and adding new features. Take the iPhone as an example. Apple has made considerable changes to the products throughout its life: it introduced apps, increased its size, improved the camera, and added face recognition, to name just a few.

Sometimes, though, the opposite strategy is more appropriate.

While rejuvenating the product and moving it back into growth may sound attractive, it is not necessarily the right thing to do for your product. If you should choose this option depends on a number of factors:

  • The category the product belongs to continues to be attractive.
  • You don’t want the product to turn into a cash cow.
  • You are able to invest the time and money required to extend the life cycle.
  • The product is not too deep into maturity; its performance has fairly recently stagnated.
  • The product health including its code quality is reasonable.


Option 2: Keep the Product in Maturity

Accepting maturity means adopting a more conservative mindset and playing a defensive game: You typically want to protect your product’s position without investing too much time and money. This often results in incremental enhancements and bug fixes rather than bigger changes like adding brand-new features.

The second option is right for you if you don’t need to or if you can’t rejuvenate the product: New products are in the pipeline that can eventually replace your product, which are also referred to as question marks and stars, or you are able to secure new products through an acquisition.

Alternatively, the effort to extend the lifecycle is just too big. This may be due to the product category losing its attractiveness, the product having been in maturity for too long, and/or poor code quality.

At the same time, you are happy to turn the product into a cash cow maximizing the value it creates for the business while carefully managing the investment required.