This strategy has several advantages. New features build the companyâ€™s image as an innovator and win the loyalty of market segments that value these features. They provide an opportunity for free publicity and they generate sales force and distributor enthusiasm. The chief disadvantage is that feature improvements are easily imitated; unless there is a permanent gain from being first, the feature improvement might not pay off in the long run.
Style improvement aims at increasing the productâ€™s esthetic appeal. The periodic introduction of new car model is largely about style competition, as is the introduction of new packaging for consumer products. A style strategy might give the product a unique market identity. Yet style competition has problems. First, it is difficult to predict whether people — and which people — will like a new style. Second, a style change requires discontinuing the old style, and the company risks losing customers.
Product managers might also try to stimulate sales by modifying other marketing program elements. They should consider the following:
Price cut can attract new buyers, if so, the list prices can be lowered or lowered through price specials, volume or early purchase discounts, freight cost absorption, or easier credit terms. Alternately if the prices are raised can it signal higher quality to buyers?
The company obtains more product support and display in existing outlets or needs more outlets to be penetrated. Can the company introduce the product into new distribution channels?
Increasing advertising expenditures will help in increasing the sales. Changing the message or copy, media mix, timing, frequency, or size of ads will help in stimulating the sales.
Sales promotion: Should the company step up sales promotion trade deals, coupons, rebates, warranties, gifts, and contests?
The number or quality of salespeople be increased or the basis for sales force specialization be changed. Revising sales territories or sales force incentives can stimulate the sales. Improving sales-call planning may also be of some help.
Services: Can the company speed up delivery? Can it extend more technical assistance to customers? Can it extend more credit?
Marketers often debate which tools are most effective in the mature stage. For example, would the company gain more by increasing its advertising or its sales promotion budget? Sales promotion has more impact at this stage because consumers have reached equilibrium in their buying habits and preferences, and psychological persuasion (advertising) is not as effective as financial persuasion (sales promotion deals).
Many consumer packaged goods companies now spend over 60% of their total promotion budget on sales pro-motion to support mature products. Other marketers argue that brands should be managed as capital assets and supported by advertising. Advertising expenditures should be treated as a capital investment. Brand managers use sales promotion because its effects are quicker and more visible to their superiors; but excessive sales promotion activity can hurt the brandâ€™s image and long-run profit performance.