THE EFFECT OF PRODUCT LIFE CYCLE ON ORGANIZATION SALES (A CASE STUDY OF UNILEVER NIGERIA PLC ABA BRANCH)

ABSTRACT

The research was conducted on the basis of an analysis of the marketing effect of product life cycle in achieving organizational sales objective of Unilever Nigeria Plc, Aba Abia state. The objectives were stated to ascertain and evaluate the marketing efforts of product life cycle in the cosmetic and detergent industry. In order to critically examine this. Therefore the researcher set out to ascertain the following objectives.
Firstly, to find out whether Unilever Nigeria Plc conduct thorough market research before embarking on developing its product.
Secondly, to determine whether Unilever Nigeria Plc follows the formal procedure or sequences of product development process (Ideas generation business analysis – concept of product testing product developing test marketing commercialization).
Last but not the least, to find out if product life cycle is useful in the achievement of marketing performance of Unilever Nigeria Plc. In the literature review, the research review some literature in the area of marketing like: concept of marketing, product life cycle and its stages, critiques of product life cycle concept and a brief comparative analysis of Plc BCG and adopter categories were made.
In research methodology and design, the researcher adopted both descriptive and analytical method in carrying out his sample survey research. Data were collected through primary and secondary method and/or sources. A yaro yamen formula was use to get sample size. Also a stratified random sampling technique in choosing the sample size was used. This was because all the units have equal chances of being considered. In chapter four, data were presented and analyzing. Using simple table and chi square in analyzing the data respondents were presented in table and result of data analyze in percentage one after another.
Finally in the last chapter, the researcher made his summary, conclusion and recommendations which make the end of the project.

TABLE OF CONTENT

Title page
Approval page
Dedication
Acknowledgement
Abstract
Table of content
CHAPTER ONE
1.0 Introduction
1.1 Background of the study
1.2 Statement of problems
1.3 Objective of the study
1.4 Research design
1.5 Statement of hypothesis
1.6 Significance of the study
1.7 Scope of the study
1.8 Limitation of the study
1.9 Definition of terms

CHAPTER TWO
2.0 Literature review
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Concepts of marketing
2.3 New product development stages
2.4 Concept of product life cycle
2.5 Stage in product life cycle
2.6 Marketing effects of product life cycle
2.7 Critiques of product life cycle
2.8 A brief comparative analysis of the relationship between Plc, Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and adopter categories
References
CHAPTER THREE
3.0 Research design and methodology
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Research design
3.3 Source/method of data collection
3.4 Population and sample size
3.5 Determination of sample size
3.6 Sampling techniques
3.7 Validity and reliability of measurement instrument
3.8 Method of data analysis
CHAPTER FOUR
4.0 Presentation and analysis of data
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Presentation of data
4.3 Analysis of data
4.4 Test of hypothesis
4.5 Interpretation of result
CHAPTER FIVE
5.0 Summary, conclusion and recommendations
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Summary of findings
5.3 Conclusion
5.4 Recommendations

CHAPTER ONE

1.0  INTRODUCTION

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.

1.2  STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEMS

Over the years Unilever has been experiencing some identifiable problems due to inability of the firm to watch competition. Although Unilever Nigeria Plc with its product far long has enjoyed leading position in the detergent industry. However with the entrance of new firms (like soul mate Nigeria Plc, PZ Cousons, Nigeria Plc etc). Unilever began to loose its market share and product failure.

The researcher therefore tends to evaluate the marketing effects of the product life cycle in the achievement of marketing sales performance of Unilever Nigeria Plc. This is because the researcher observed the following problems to have been facing the success and growth of Unilever Nigeria Plc. These alleged problems are stated here under:-

  1. The firm have not been conducting proper and through market research before and after development of its product.
  2. There is inability of the firm to have a close monitoring of the stages of its product in the product life cycle.
  3. There lacks of affective and suitable application of marketing programmes at each stage of its product in the product life cycle to enable Unilever achieve its sales performance.

1.3  OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY

The general purpose of this study is to evaluate the marketing effect of product life cycle in the marketing sales performance of Unilever Nigeria Plc. However, the specific objectives are as follows: –

  1. To find out whether there is relationship between product life cycle and marketing performance of Unilever Nigeria Plc.
  2. To determine whether Unilever conduct a thorough market research before embarking on developing product.
  3. To ascertain whether the company follows the formal procedure/sequences of new product development process.
  4. To find out if there is a positive impact of product modification in the maturity stage of the product life cycle on the sales volume of Unilever Nigeria Plc.
  5. Finally, to recommend a more effective and efficient way of maintaining a leadership position using a product life cycle analysis after through examination of the prevailing situation.

1.4  RESEARCH QUESTIONS

For the purpose of this investigation, the following questions are as follows:

  1. What is the relationship between product life cycle and sales performance of Unilever Nigeria Plc?
  2. To what extent do you conduct a thorough market research before embarking on developing your product?
  3. To what extent do you go before finally developing your product?
  4. Does product modification strategy in the maturity stage of product life cycle impact positively on the sale volume of Unilever Nigeria Plc.
  5. What strategies would you recommend for a more effective and efficient way of maintaining a leading position of Unilever Nigeria Plc using a product life cycle analysis after thorough examination of the prevailing situations?

1.5  STATEMENT OF HYPOTHESIS

In stating my research hypothesis, the researcher used null hypothesis which is represented by “Ho” for his assumptions, the hypotheses are stated as follows:

Ho:  There is no relationship between product life cycle and marketing performance.

Ho:  Effective analysis of the product life cycle has no position impact of company marketing performance.

Ho:  Product modification at maturity stage of the product life cycle does not have positive impact on the sales volume.

Ho:  Product life cycle has no significance effect on company sales performance.

1.6  SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

This research on the analysis of the marketing effects of product life cycle in the offering of the Unilever Nigeria Plc is very significant to the company due to the fact that Unilever Nigeria Plc is large organization that occupies a sizable portion of the entire detergent industry. Besides, it will assist the company have a competitive advantages over other detergent firms as the degree of competitive performance or other brands are observed in the market, it will also help to guide against harm.

Moreso, the research is significance in such a way that it will be of great benefits to student who are interest in the concept of product life cycle, consumer who would want to have knowledge about the product and management of Unilever Nigeria Plc since we believed that in any field human endeavour, improvement are achieve by learning about what people do. How they do them, with what effect (positive or negative) and possible need for adjustment.

Finally, practitioners of marketing will benefits immensely in the work since the interview and questionnaire will be administered to field staff, wealth of experiences are embraced in the data collected, analyzed and presented. It is also an academic exercise in partial fulfillment for the award of the Higher National Diploma (HND) in marketing.

1.7  SCOPE OF THE STUDY

The study essentially deals with the analysis of the marketing effects of product life cycle in the operation of Unilever Nigeria Plc Aba. Being the case therefore, the researcher focuses his attention on Unilever Nigeria Plc alone. In other words, the researcher did not consider marketing effects of product life cycle in other forms of business organization. More over, it covers only Unilever Nigeria Plc in Aba metropolis.

1.8  LIMITATION OF THE STUDY

With response to limitation of this study, there was insufficient resources which would have been helpful to widen the scope. Other problems that limit the study are itemized here under.

  1. There was problem of gathering timely, accurate and pertinent information on the real motive behind the research on the side of the staff of Unilever Nigeria Plc.
  2. The researcher also found it difficult to obtain relevance information from the customers of Unilever Nigeria Plc for instance some customers were not cooperating.

1.9  DEFINITION OF TERMS

In order to make the understanding of this study simple, some certain terminologies are hereby defined with the following headings:-

MARKETING: This is the conscious human input in the process of exchange relation that identifies the needs and wants of part to the exchange for the mutual satisfaction of the parties.

RESEARCH: This refers to the systematic acquisition of data and its analysis for the purpose of solving marketing problems.

PRODUCT LIFE CYCLE: This represents the unit sales trend or curve from the time it is first placed to the market until it is phased out.

COMMERCIAL LIFE: This is the length of time between commercial birth and commercial death.

COMMERCIAL DEATH: This occurs when the product achieves a certain specified sales volume.

CATALOGUE LIFE: This is the length of time the product is carried in the catalogue.

PRODUCT MODIFICATION: This involves changing one or more of a product characteristic either by adding quality function or style.

PRODUCT: This refers to anything of value offered to the market for attention, acquisition and consumption and is capable of satisfying human need and wants.

COMPANY GROWTH: This is one of the most important reasons for new product development it refers to company expansion either by increasing sales and then achieving product.

PRICE: This refers to the value attached to the product.

PROMOTION: This refers to making the product known to the market.