Summary

The purpose of marketing is to act in such a way that a company puts products on the market that correspond to demand, that is, satisfy the needs and wants of its customers with a significant and sustainable competitive advantage and at a profit. This approach complements and replaces short-term approaches that favor the product, the manufacturing method, or the sales method. By relying on long-term customer satisfaction and by allowing the company to organize itself so that it can respond to this long-term satisfaction, marketing contributes to the company's success and its longevity.

Marketing managers in high-tech companies confirm that marketing plays this role and emphasize that their objectives are not different from those of their colleagues who work with less technologically sophisticated products in both mass consumption and in industrial goods and services. The differences appear mainly in the operational management of marketing and, in addition, in risk evaluation due to the specific characteristics of high-tech products.

These products—which may be either goods or services—are characterized by the incorporation of a sophisticated technology, a high rate of development and improvement (i.e., a short life cycle), as well as a high innovation value for the market. For these reasons, high-tech products require large investments in research and development, and are often intended for specific markets. These products belong mostly to six industries: biology, telecom equipment and information, electrical equipment, automotive, aerospace, and energy. Products should also be differentiated as simple components or complex systems and according to their degree of standardization or customization. One last characteristic of high technology to notice is the strong influence of the public sector, either directly, through governmental research programs, or indirectly, through the military budgets.

In any case, the technological dimension is only an addition (to its value);a high-tech product is above all—depending on the case—a consumer good, an industrial product, or a service. However, the marketing strategy has to take into account the four distinctive characteristics of hightech products, namely, a tendency to worry many customers, the need for efficient time management, the direct cooperation with the R&D department, and the ever-changing conditions of the markets.

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