Product life cycle

Product life cycle – dead or alive?

Sumner, Carol

This GCSE business studies lesson will give students a practical understanding of the life cycle of products and the features of each stage of the product life cycle.

By the end of the lesson, students should be able to:

* define product life cycle

* identify the typical stages of a product’s life cycle

* discuss the marketing implications for a product at each stage of its life cycle.

Lesson preparation

You will need:

* A3 paper

* a selection of retail catalogues, such as Argos catalogues

* rulers, glue and scissors

* student handouts (see page 17).

Lesson plan

1 Start by providing students with the topic and lesson objectives. Discuss the meaning of product life cycle and provide a definition for students to note down.

2 Write the typical stages of a product’s life cycle – introduction, growth, maturity, saturation, decline – on the board in the wrong order. Ask students to write these down in the order in which they think a product goes through during its life.

3 Using the board, draw the axes for the product life cycle. Ask for volunteers to provide the stages of the life cycle in the correct order and add these to the horizontal (time) axis.

4 Label the vertical axis “sales” and ask students what they think the level of sales would be for a product at each stage in its life. hot the answers on the graph and create the product life cycle curve.

5 Distribute the A3 paper and the rulers and ask students to copy the product life cycle from the board (filling the A3 paper).

6 Distribute the catalogues, glue and scissors. Ask studentsto find in the catalogues examples of products at different stages in the life cycle. Each student should find five products, one for each stage in the life cycle. They should cut out product photographs from the catalogues and glue them in the appropriate position on their life cycle graph. Students should find this exercise particularly easy if they consider electronic products such as DVD players and mobile phones.

7 When students have finished this task, distribute the handout – photocopy the table on page 17-and ask them to complete the table for each of their five selected products.

8 Ask students to present their product life cycle graphs to the class. Students should explain why they have selected their products, setting out their reasons for placing each one at a particular stage in the life cycle.

9 As a plenary, revisit the learning objectives checking that students can identify the marketing implications for a product at each stage of its life cycle.

10 For homework, ask studentsto suggest ways to prolong the life of one of the products they have used to illustrate their product life cycle. You could introduce the homework task by giving brief details of the Lucozade story (see box) or by setting further classroom activities on the Lucozade brand. Students’ homework could be used to begin a following lesson on extension strategies.

Carol Sumner is head of e-learning at Central Technology College in Grantham.

Copyright Economics and Business Education Association Autumn 2007

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