What does cow symbolize in BCG matrix?

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Stars can eventually become Cash Cows if they sustain their success until a time when a high-growth market slows down. A key tenet of a BCG strategy for growth is to invest in Stars. Ideally, the company has a balanced product portfolio between cash cow, question mark, and star. A focus on cash cows alone can create problems in the long run. Indeed, at present, the cash cow is the company’s primary source of money. Still, the market’s low growth may only last for a short time.

However, due to the growing number of competitors, its growth could be more apparent, and its demand is relatively high. Hold – Keep a product within the same quadrant, and don’t make any additional investments. The structure of the BCG Matrix strategic management is explained below. These Strategic Management Multiple Choice Questions are useful for UGC NET, SET, MPSC, UPSC and Ph D competitive entrance exams. These MCQs are equally useful for MBA, PGDM, MMM, MCA, BBA, BCom, Mcom courses of various Indian & foreign universities.

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You need to get your payoff from growth when the growth slows – you lose your opportunity if you hesitate. The payoff is cash that cannot be reinvested in that product. Since consumer preferences are constantly changing, it’s impossible to predict the long-term growth of any product. That’s why you should regularly revise and update your BCG matrix as market conditions change.

What Are the 4 Quadrants of the BCG Matrix?

For instance, a product that was a Question Mark could quickly turn into a Dog, so you should be ready to walk away if the stakes get too high. If you can’t invest more into a product, keep it in the same quadrant and leave it alone. One of the advantages of a Cash Cow is that it’s a well-established product that takes less effort to maintain. Once you know where each product stands, you can evaluate them objectively and strategize the future of your business.


However, since these business units are growing rapidly, they have the potential to turn into Stars in a high-growth market. Companies are advised to invest in Question Marks if the products have potential for growth, or to sell if they do not. Products that are in high growth markets and that make up a sizable portion of that market are considered “stars” and should be invested in more. In the upper left quadrant are stars, which generate high income but also consume large amounts of company cash.

High Growth, Low Share.Companies should invest in or discard these “question marks,” depending on their chances of becoming stars. The vertical axis of the BCG Matrix represents the growth rate of a product and its potential to grow in a particular market. Stars in the BCG matrix represent a product with a high market share in the high relative-growth market. The stars are the most important category in the company’s portfolio because they are the future of the company.

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You could consider using the Product Life Cycle but if you need a current “snap shot” of how the products are doing you would benefit more from using the Boston Consulting Group Matrix. Indeed, in the mature stage, growth, the intensity of competition may still be tight. The players each try to grab market share from other competitors. However, a stronger position gives it more of an edge than other competitors. Reduce your investment and take out the maximum cash flow from a product, which increases its overall profitability.

If a company’s product has a low market share and is at a low rate of growth, it is considered a “dog” and should be sold, liquidated, or repositioned. Dogs, found in the lower right quadrant of the grid, don’t generate much cash for the company since they have low market share and little to no growth. Because of this, dogs can turn out to be cash traps, tying up company funds for long periods of time. For this reason, they are prime candidates for divestiture. Products in the cash cows quadrant are in a market that is growing slowly and where the product have a high market share. Products in the cash cows quadrant are thought of as products that are leaders in the marketplace.

The what does stars symbolize in bcg matrix within the star quadrant in the BCG matrix have a strong competitive performance in the market and they have high future potential. The Boston Consulting Group’s management expert, Bruce Henderson, created it as a tool for portfolio planning in the early 1970s. Henderson believed that the business units of a firm that were more mature and producing substantial amounts of cash could provide the capital needed by the expanding business units. In addition, the product line could get a cost advantage by investing to dominate the market in an expanding area. It is a tool to evaluate the current worth of a company’s units or product lines.

Learn More About the Growth Share Matrix

It represents the percentage of sales that has turned into profits. Every product has a life cycle, and reevaluating it at each phase is considered important to managing its commercial success. The Dogs of the Dow strategy attempts to maximize the yield of investments by buying the highest-paying dividend stocks available from the DJIA each year. The term dog may also refer to a stock that is a chronic underperforming stock, and hence, a drag on the performance of a portfolio.

The BCG matrix is also a useful tool for uncovering new opportunities in your market and eliminating poorly performing products, which can save your company a lot of money in the long run. It has been implemented across a variety of industries within companies of different sizes. The green zone encourages firms to “move forward,” to develop and grow and pushes it to employ growth tactics.

  • The BCG model has been used since 1968 to help companies gain insights on what products best help them capitalize on market share growth opportunities and give them a competitive advantage.
  • Dog– a product that has a low market share and is in a low-growth market.
  • Harvest – To raise a product’s total profitability, decrease investment and extract the most cash flow possible.
  • At the end of the day, the goal isn’t to succeed in any one area – it’s to create a diversified portfolio.

The creation of the growth share matrix was a collaborative effort. BCG’s Alan Zakon—who would go on to become the firm’s CEO—first sketched it and then refined it together with his colleagues. BCG’s founder, Bruce Henderson, popularized the concept in his essay The Product Portfolio, in 1970. At the height of its success, the growth share matrix was used by about half of all Fortune 500 companies; today, it is still central in business school teachings on business strategy. While a great tool, the BCG matrix isn’t for every business.

In many cases, it won’t provide enough information for handling complex business problems. A cash cow is one of the four BCG matrix categories that represents a product or business with high market share and low market growth. Questionable opportunities are those in high growth rate markets but in which the company does not maintain a large market share.

Some companies find they don’t have products in each quadrant, nor do they have a steady movement of products among the quadrants as their product life cycle progresses. In the Coca-Cola BCG matrix example, Diet Coke and Minute Maid are Question Marks, as these products attract a modest audience, but still have room to grow. Its bottled water brands Kinley and Dasani are Stars since they dominate the market in, respectively, Europe and the U.S., and show no signs of slowing growth. Its titular drink is a Cash Cow since it experiences low growth and a high market share. However, Coca-Cola is also a Dog because legislation against soft drinks – not to mention public sentiment turning against them – has decreased soda sales.


From building the ideal product portfolio to the rule of three and four, explore more than 50 years of BCG business strategy classics. The growth share matrix—put forth by the founder of BCG, Bruce Henderson, in 1970—remains a powerful tool for managing strategic experimentation amid rapid, unpredictable change. The added cash required to hold shares is a function of growth rates.

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  • One limitation of using the BCG matrix is it doesn’t account for any factors beyond market share and growth.
  • Sentiment analysis can help you determine how consumers feel about your brand and products.
  • Companies should milk these “cash cows” for cash to reinvest.
  • So, having a lot of Star in the company’s portfolio is not a good idea.

A problem child is one of the four categories in the growth-market share matrix describing a business with a small market share in a rapidly growing industry. The growth-share matrix aids the company in deciding which products or units to either keep, sell, or invest more in. There are four categories in the BCG growth-share matrix; the dog is one of them and the cash cow is another. Ansoff matrix is used to develop a product strategy for various markets.

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Adam received his master’s in economics from The New School for Social Research and his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in sociology. He is a CFA charterholder as well as holding FINRA Series 7, 55 & 63 licenses. He currently researches and teaches economic sociology and the social studies of finance at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

The products already have a significant amount of investments in them and do not require significant further investments to maintain their position. In the best-case scenario, a firm would ideally want to turn question marks into stars . If question marks do not succeed in becoming a market leader, they end up becoming dogs when market growth declines. Stars in the BCG matrix represent a product with a high market share in the high relative growth market.

The growth-share matrix assists the business in determining which goods or divisions to keep, market, or increase investment. The growth share matrix was built on the logic that market leadership results in sustainable superior returns. Ultimately, the market leader obtains a self-reinforcing cost advantage that competitors find difficult to replicate. These high growth rates then signal which markets have the most growth potential.

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They frequently break even, neither earning nor consuming much cash. Dogs are generally considered cash traps because businesses have money tied up in them, even though they bring back almost nothing in return. These business units are prime candidates for divestiture. Stars consume a significant amount of cash but also generate large cash flows.