problem child(redirected from question marks)
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In growth share matrices, the quadrant representing companies, especially subsidies, that require large cash injections but have low market shares, and therefore usually operate at a loss or with little profit. These companies are normally growing rapidly (hence the need for cash) but represent new markets, products, or brands. Problem children represent an initial stage in growth share matrices; they have the potential to become stars or cash cows, but also to become dogs, depending on how the relevant markets grow. Analysts carefully evaluate problem children to determine whether or not they should be divested. A problem child is also called a question mark. See also: Marketing, Portfolio analysis.