An increasing number of people are questioning whether product life cycle concept has a value to business enterprise and useful role in the attainment of the marketing performance of the detergent industry. It has been opined that the usefulness or other wise of the product life cycle concept has been the subject of an un-abating marketing discourse. Is the product life cycle useful? Has been the questions at issues.
Product life cycle is a marketing phenomenon which seeks to recognized various stages, a product passes in its sales history. It is also a graphic representation of the sequential rise and fall of a product sales and profits. An important concept in the product planning forecasting, controlling and development process is that the product life cycle. No product last forever, products are originated, developed and launched. The concept means that a company’s positioning and differentiation strategy must change as the product, market and competition change over the product life cycle. It should be noted that some product pass through the cycle stage faster than others.
In order to understand this concept, (product life cycle) vividly, and to fully appreciate its effects to be marketing as discussed in the literature review. This study determines the concept as representing the unit sales trend or curve for some products, extending from the time it is first placed in the market until it is faced out. In other words, the concept describes the evaluation of a product overtime, as measure by its sales or percentage saturation, and explain its stages with models as exemplified by Unilever Nigeria Plc. Some companies move through the cycle very rapidly, other never make it through the introductory stage of the growth period but Unilever Nigeria Plc has moved steadily and predictably through each stage to the maturity. Unilever produces a lot of products but “OMO” multi Actives, will be structured for the purpose of this study.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Unilever Plc is one of detergent and cosmetic company of the industry with the sole aim of teaching and satisfying the entire public with its qualify products, and it was incorporated as private company in 11th April 1924 under the name lever brother (WA) Plc which was later metamorphosed to West African Soap Company Plc on 3rd April 1973. This name was changed again to Lever Brothers Nigeria Plc on 15th December 1985 and was later changed to Unilever Nigeria Plc in 1992.
The company’s headquarter is situated at Apapa Lagos and it was commissioned in 1942. manufacturing at the factory started with the production of bar soaps, using palm oil, but as time goes on, it was extended to toilet soaps including international brand Lux and Relaxers, Astral and Asepo.
The company’s main business over the year has be diversified into manufacturing of blue band and plant margarine, Omo and Surf, a non soapy detergents, pepsovent and close – up tooth pastes and three top fruit syaush. The well – known sun light and key laundering soap are also manufactured by the company. The company was converted into a public company on 12th September, 1973 and its share capital was listed on the Nigeria stock exchange (NSE).
Unilever Nigeria Plc has seven department: production, marketing/sales department, accounting, purchasing, administrative department and research and development departments. All work synergistically to achieve set objectives. Unilever also has branches both in Nigeria under which Aba branch fall and in other parts of the world like Ghana.