Product launch · Product management

What causes the “Product Death Cycle" ?

Ted Jaffe Product Manager at RingCentral

June 18th, 2015

This article by Andrew Chen, talks about the “Product Death Cycle,” a concept he took from a tweet by David Bland. I agree with the analysis of what causes a product to enter the cycle, but I’m curious what others think. Is this cycle a real concern for some companies? And if a product does enter into this cycle, what, if anything, can help it break out?

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Patrina Mack Experts in global commercialization

June 18th, 2015

It's a very well written article and thanks for sharing.   We guide our B2B clients to make sure senior management is meeting with their peers at strategic accounts and asking them what are they trying to do with their business 3-5 years to ensure that the product portfolio investment is going towards the enhancements that will drive growth and loyalty rather than incremental improvements that make an end-user's interaction with the product slightly easier.

Tico Ballagas

June 18th, 2015

I think the key pitfall in the product death cycle is to 'Ask customers what feature is missing' and expect them to know the answer.  This isn't the type of question that customers are good at answering.  I think this article by Jake Wobbrock gives good advice on what you should be doing instead:

Andrew Lampert Intent to improve and enhance my performance.

Last updated on February 22nd, 2017

This is an interesting cautionary tale, but I say the culprit is the cycle, not the practice. It seems to be directly fed into by what the article identifies as the "Next Feature Fallacy". However, if you only follow these three steps in a linear sequence, you get results or failure, but can move onto an alternative approach.

This is reminiscent of a similar parable, "The Fallacy of Lowering Prices" (see abridged summary below). However, neither case should be upheld as a ban on these considerations. We will often need to look at numerous Best Practices to find solutions that fit the issues at hand. Lowering prices and accessing customer insight should certainly remain in the toolkit for addressing business issues, and will at times be the correct strategy.

The Fallacy of Lowering Prices:

Suppose you sell widgets that cost $0.25 per unit, and sell for $1.00 per unit.

Last month you sold 500 units generating $500.00 revenue, and $375.00 profit.

  1. Lowering your original price 10%, to $0.90, and will need to sell 520 widgets to make the same $375.00 profit. That requires selling 4% more units to make the same amount of money.
  2. Lowering your original price 25%, to $0.75, and will need to sell 568 widgets to make the same $375.00 profit. That requires selling 13% more units to make the same amount of money.

The resulting question is, "will the lower price result in enough gained sales to counteract the loss in revenue?"