good tables marketing mix - Rosen Schroeder Purinton...

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Rosen, Schroeder, Purinton, / Marketing High Tech Products Marketing High Tech Products: Lessons in Customer Focus from the Marketplace Deborah E. Rosen University of Rhode Island Jonathan E. Schroeder University of Rhode Island Elizabeth F. Purinton University of Rhode Island This research was supported by a research grant from the University of Rhode Island College of Business Administration. Contact Deborah E. Rosen at: University of Rhode Island Department of Marketing 7 Lippitt Road Kingston, RI 02881 e-mail: [email protected] EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Nystrom (1990) described high tech markets as marketing dependent and technologically driven. Unfortunately, there is evidence that this linkage is not often recognized by organizations (Gupta, Ray and Wilemon 1985). High tech markets are characterized as complex. In addition, they exist under rapidly changing technological conditions which lead to shorter life cycles (Davidow 1986) and the need for rapid decisions (Bridges, Coughlan, and Kalish 1991). The importance of speed in high tech markets is driven by increasing competition and the continually evolving expectations of customers (Doyle and Saunders 1985). All of this is compounded by higher levels of risk for both the customer and the producer. As a result of these dynamic market conditions high tech companies frequently rely on a product focus (Dugal and Schroeder 1995, Marcus and Segal 1989) driven by innovations in technology rather than by the needs of the customer. This failure to incorporate a customer focus is often compounded by an absence of attention to the critical role which the diffusion of innovation plays in successful product launch. As illustrated by the three cases presented in this paper, the outcome of a product focus is often a product launch which does not live up to its technological promise. The launch of Philips’ CD-I, Apple’s Newton, and Sony’s BetaMax, illustrate the critical role which the diffusion of innovation process plays in successful high tech product offerings. In each case, the companies rushed their products to market and failed to combine a customer focus with an understanding of the diffusion process. These examples provide specific lessons for managers today that can be used to insure that managers achieve the right blend of market and technology. First, rethink the first to market mentality. Is it really imperative to be first in the market? If it is not, attention should be placed on perfecting the value package and taking this opportunity to develop a "complete product" for the consumer. While some innovators rush to try the first product on the market, your company can be improving the performance of the product and improving the marketing mix. When introduced, your product will fulfill the promises made during development. Second, though a common phenomenon, managers should not fall into the trap of assuming that customers are useless in the product development process and skip marketing research. Developing
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