Product-Market Growth Matrix

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The Ansoff Product-Market Growth Matrix is a marketing tool created by Igor Ansoff and first published in his article "Strategies for Diversification" in the Harvard Business Review (1957). The matrix allows marketers to consider ways to grow the business via existing and/or new products, in existing and/or new markets – there are four possible product/market combinations. This matrix helps companies decide what course of action should be taken given current performance. The matrix consists of four strategies:

  1. Market penetration (existing markets, existing products): Market penetration occurs when a company enters/penetrates a market with current products. The best way to achieve this is by gaining competitors' customers (part of their market share). Other ways include attracting non-users of your product or convincing current clients to use more of your product/service, with advertising or other promotions. Market penetration is the least risky way for a company to grow.

  2. Product development (existing markets, new products): A firm with a market for its current products might embark on a strategy of developing other products catering to the same market (although these new products need not be new to the market; the point is that the product is new to the company). Frequently, when a firm creates new products, it can gain new customers for these products. Hence, new product development can be a crucial business development strategy for firms to stay competitive.

  3. Market development (new markets, existing products): An established product in the marketplace can be tweaked or targeted to a different customer segment, as a strategy to earn more revenue for the firm. This is a good strategy of developing a new market for an existing product. Again, the market need not be new in itself; the point is that the market is new to the company.

  4. Diversification (new markets, new products): Companies that dominant in one specific market can branch out into new markets to provide a new line of products that differ from their existing stock. This results in a company entering new markets where it had no presence before.

The matrix illustrates, in particular, that the element of risk increases the further the strategy moves away from known quantities - the existing product and the existing market. Thus, product development (requiring, in effect, a new product) and market extension (a new market) typically involve a greater risk than `penetration' (existing product and existing market); and diversification (new product and new market) generally carries the greatest risk of all. In his original work, which did not use the matrix form, Igor Ansoff stressed that the diversification strategy stood apart from the other three.

While the latter are usually followed with the same technical, financial, and merchandising resources which are used for the original product line, diversification usually requires new skills, new techniques, and new facilities. As a result it almost invariably leads to physical and organizational changes in the structure of the business which represent a distinct break with past business experience.

For this reason, most marketing activity revolves around penetration.

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