5)." With this definition, it becomes apparent that marketing is not just about selling goods and services to customers. At the heart of marketing is delivering customer value to satisfy and even delight buyers. This calls for the efficient establishment of a marketing mix which takes into account all the essential factors in marketing commodities. In marketing a product, the extended marketing mix is used and is comprised of seven decision areas (7Ps) namely, product, people, price, promotion, place, process, and physical evidence.
The Product Life Cycle (PLC) model is an indispensable model which can be utilized in coming up with a well crafted marketing strategy. It is stated that "the product's current PLC position suggests the best marketing strategies (Kotler and Armstrong 355)" and that "the resulting marketing strategies affect product performance in later life-cycles stages (Kotler and Armstrong 355)."
This report will look at the use of PLC model as a tool in crafting an efficient and profitable marketing mix for Starbucks Corporation. The first section will give a more in-depth background of the PLC model. Next, it will be used to come up with a marketing mix for Starbucks in China and US. Another section will also be devoted in explaining how certain strategies extend the life cycle of a product in a certain market. The paper will conclude with its recommendations on using the PLC as a potent aid in making product policy decisions.
The Product Life Cycle Model: An Overview
The PLC model recognized that the life of a product in the market takes commonly follows five distinct stages. The first course is the product development stage which begins when the company finds and develops a new product idea. Introduction phase is the period where the product is finally launched into the target market. This stage is characterized by huge expenses which significantly drive down profit levels. Next is the growth period where the product goes through rapid market acceptance and increasing profits. The maturity stage is commonly the longest stage in the product life cycle which is characterized by slowdown in sales growth due to its general acceptance. In effect, profits typically level off or decline as the company makes efforts to defend the product against competition. The last stage is decline when the product's sales fall off and profits drop (Kotler and Armstrong 354).
Product Life Cycle in the Starbucks Context
According to Hoovers, Starbucks is the number one specialty coffee retailer having 10,000 coffee shops around the globe. Contrary to the common knowledge that the main product of Starbucks is coffee, an executive of the company declares that Strabucks doesn't sell coffee. Instead, Starbucks goes beyond selling premium quality coffee but it sells "an experience." According to Howard Behar, "We're not in the business of filling bellies, we're in the business of filling souls (qtd in Kotler and Armstrong 58)." With this in mind, Starbucks has conquered the globe with its coffee shop to share the "Starbucks experience."
In this section, we will utilize the PLC in crafting marketing