The Product Portfolio and Man’s Best Friend

by Donald Hambrick, Ian MacMillan

Fall 1982

Volume 25
Issue 1

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The article focuses on the BCG Matrix. Most strategic planners are familiar with the product-portfolio matrix originated by the Boston Consulting Group. According to BCG, a company's product lines or businesses can be usefully portrayed according to two criteria: their market shares and their market growth rates. The four types of businesses on the BCG matrix--Wildcats, Stars, Cows, and Dogs--was undertaken with the aid of another major strategic planning tool, the Profit-Impact-of-Marketing-Strategies (PIMS) database. The PIMS program is an ongoing study of environmental, strategic, and performance variables for individual business units. Over 200 corporations submit data annually on a total have different tendencies to generate or consume cash. The simplicity of the matrix and its edicts is alluring, but some argue that it all seems too simple. As a result other consulting and industrial firms have developed more refined portfolio matrices. The U.S. economy is in a slow growth era which is not expected to become dynamic again soon. The issue of what to do with Dog businesses is becoming a pressing question, both for public-policy makers and corporate strategists. Much more research is needed on how to thrive in a mature setting.

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