Key Success Factors of a Marketing Department in a High Tech Company

When asked for the key abilities that a marketing department must manage in order to be highly successful, experienced marketing managers of major high-tech firms gave the following answers (see Figure A.1, which was based on interviews that I conducted):

1. Knowledge of customers and assessments of their future needs are the first priorities, which perfectly corresponds to the marketing department's objectives: the analysis of market needs. This first priority justifies marketing's existence and its credibility within the company.

2. Close coordination with the sales department is a necessity. The sales force is the only informational source readily available in ever-changing markets. The sales force is in contact with customers whose impressions, opinions, and attitudes can be relayed to the marketing department. Finally, sales representatives participate in the execution of the marketing plan and are essential in the strategy's success. Marketing helps the sales force by supplying information on and training for new products. All these efforts must then be communicated to customers. For the two departments to work together efficiently, there should be no waste or loss of energy between them.

3. Awareness of the company's abilities is essential for the development of a realistic marketing strategy. Proposing new products is useless if the company does not have the necessary technical and financial abilities to materialize new products. Targeting a large number of markets with a sales force that is limited in size is also

1. Understanding of customers and assessment of their future needs

2. Close coordination with the sales department

3. Awareness of the company's abilities

4. Symbiosis with the R&D department

5. Concern for timely product introductions

6. Response to customer and organizational demand

7. Excellent product knowledge

1. Understanding of customers and assessment of their future needs

2. Close coordination with the sales department

3. Awareness of the company's abilities

5. Concern for timely product introductions

6. Response to customer and organizational demand

7. Excellent product knowledge

Figure A.1 Success factors of a marketing department in a high-tech company.

Percentage of 30% quotes

Figure A.1 Success factors of a marketing department in a high-tech company.

futile. Many examples of failed marketing strategies exist;these are failures due to a lack of needed resources.

4. Symbiosis with the research and development department is a necessity in the high-tech industry. Reasons for this symbiosis were explained in Chapter 10;marketing managers confirm that this cooperation must be part of the marketing team's day-to-day activities.

5. Concern for timely product introductions is imperative in an aggressive competitive environment with shortened product life cycles. The rules of the game are constantly changing;the first company in a market often comes away as the winner. In addition, a delay in a product's introduction usually has serious financial consequences that can increase the pressure on the marketing department to market products at the right place and time.

6. Response to customer and organizational demand is characteristic of the highly competitive and ever-changing high-tech industry. The marketing department must answer all questions quickly; if not, it will risk losing its credibility.

7. Excellent knowledge of the product is also necessary in order to establish credibility with the sales force, customers, and research and development, and manufacturing departments. In the high-technology industry, technology plays an important role, but it must be dedicated to meeting customer needs.

To bridge the gap between products and markets, the marketing department must understand in order both to translate customer demands into technical features and vice versa.

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