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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Technovation, Volume 22, Issue 11, November 2002, Pages 657–666
This article attempts to describe the main strategies that are available to the manager of a high-tech product at three defining points: the launch; the development of the whole product; the re-launch. Normally introductory efforts are focused on the launch stage only. It is argued that the re-launch should be an integral part of the introductory strategy, signalling a new phase in the development of a product. Before being re-launched, the ‘whole’ product must be developed so as to appeal to the pragmatists in a sector in the mainstream market. It is argued that the launch stage and the re-launch stage are best thought of as comprising four steps: market preparation, targeting, followed by positioning and finally the execution or attack step. These four steps are common to launch and re-launch but the tactics adopted within each are quite different.
A high-tech product goes through several phases during its life cycle during which it appeals to different audiences: initially it is adopted by the ‘visionaries’ and technical aficionados who accept the high risk involved in being first with revolutionary innovations; eventually, if it survives that long, it is purchased by the risk-averse main market who always wait until a product is proven and widely accepted before they will use it or deploy it in their companies. But success with the first group does not guarantee success with the second group as products such as Sony’s Betamax video players, IBM’s OS/2 software, pen-based computers, and countless word processing programs have shown. A successful launch does not necessarily lead to a smooth take-up by the rest of the market. The follow-on stages must be planned as carefully as the launch stage if overall success—and profits—are to be achieved. Due to their technological nature, high-tech products have a particularly difficult time delivering these returns. Some products take so long from the time of their initial launch to their transition to the mainstream market, that they seem to disappear altogether. ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode) network technology, electric cars and desktop videoconferencing are all currently in this category. The product may have enjoyed some modest initial success but this initial success is not maintained as it struggles to find a niche. It may be popular with some leading edge (or simply plain curious) ‘techies’ and with a few far-sighted managers but there simply are not enough of them to sustain its momentum. Its early promise is not maintained. Sales soon collapse as the product fails to catch on with the mainstream. It has entered a period of transition, called a “chasm” by Geoffrey Moore, during which momentum is lost, see Exhibit 1 (Moore, 1998). Strategies are needed to cross the chasm. The Technology adoption curve (Moore). Figure options The launch stage for a high-tech product can appear at the time to be a make-or-break point in its product-life cycle; but of equal or more significance is the moment when it attempts to cross the chasm between revolutionary innovation and technology innovation. Dramatic transitions such as this mean an attack on a completely different audience, and may even require a complete reversal of marketing tactics (Moore, 1999, pp. 9–12). This is the opportunity for a re-launch. The re-launch should be an integral part of the marketing strategy, signalling a new phase in the development of a product. Just as a second-stage booster rocket gives new impetus to a spacecraft and sends it to a new orbit, the re-launch can be used to redirect a high-tech product when it is ready to exit the chasm into the mainstream. Before being re-launched, the ‘whole’ product must be developed so as to appeal to the pragmatists in a sector in the mainstream market. Thus there are three stages to be planned: the launch; the development of the whole product; the re-launch. This article attempts to describe the main strategies that are available to the manager of a high-tech product at these three defining points. It is argued that the launch stage and the re-launch stage are best thought of as comprising four steps (Exhibit 2). The first step, market preparation, involves readying the ‘market’ for the change, where the market may include other companies as well as customers. The next step is targeting, followed by positioning based on the expected competitive advantage offered. The final step in the process involves execution or attack and consists of the strategies that are often the most visible part of the mix, taken to achieve specific results. These four steps are common to launch and re-launch but, as we will see, the tactics adopted within each are quite different.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Too often the re-launch of a hi-tech product is viewed as a last-ditch effort to revive a flagging product, undertaken without adequate preparation, instead of being seen as a natural and predictable stage of the product’s evolution. It has been argued that understanding—and leveraging—all three major phases (launch, development of the whole product, re-launch) of a hi-tech product’s life-cycle can make a huge difference to success, measured by such tangible terms as profit and market share. By using proven marketing tactics and studies to better prepare the initial launch, and by planning the re-launch stage into the overall marketing strategy, the life cycle phases can be used to propel a product to its potential. Introducing new technology is the first opportunity the marketplace gets to experience the new product. The manner in which the introduction is handled is critical. Everything has to come together in what is usually one or two narrow windows of opportunity. Get these wrong and there may be little time to put things right. By this stage, the investment in the new technology may be considerable and yet the chances of rejection or indifference are high. A number of strategies designed to reduce the risks of failure have been proposed. Technology intensive products and services are at the leading edge of many western countries’ economies. By examining the range of options included here it is hoped that the manager can help the new technology take its intended role in these economies.