Plotting on the Product Life Cycle


product life cycle, PLC, product management

Teaching Notes

For this activity, students will use the product life cycle free Excel tool to map products onto the four stages of the PLC. This is a relatively simple activity, but is designed for them to get the core concept of how product categories fit into the stages and how they evolve over time.

To assist with this exercise, please download the PLC Excel template here: plc-template-free-download

Alternatively, you can get your students to simply draw out the product lifecycle as a chart.

Review the activity below or download the PDF student worksheet

Student Worksheet: Plotting on the Product Life Cycle

Student Discussion Tasks


A company has four products that compete in different product categories. Their sales results are shown is in the following table. Based on this information, please plot each of the products onto the product life cycle model and place them clearly into one of the four stages.


Sales Last Year Sales This Year


$2m $4m







D $8m




Please plot the product categories onto the four stages of the product lifecycle (PLC). Keep in mind that we are plotting the overall industry, not a particular brand or company.

The product categories to plot are:

  1. Streaming entertainment services (such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and so on)
  2. Toothpaste
  3. Energy drinks
  4. Traditional full sugar soda/soft drinks
  5. Smart phones
  6. Home-delivered food
  7. Bottled water
  8. Smart TVs
  9. MP3 players
  10. Traditional department stores

Student Discussion Questions

  1. For TASK ONE – Using your constructed PLC, would you be happy with the product portfolio mix? If not, what you think would be the ideal mix of products (in terms of PLC stages)?
  2. For TASK TWO – Based upon where you placed the products on the PLC, from your assessment, what factors appear to push products from one PLC stage to the next? Hint: Consider the marketing environment.

Related Activities

Product Life Cycle (PLC) Excel Template