Innovation Management and Marketing in the High-Tech Sector: A Content Analysis of Advertisements

By Gerhard, Daniel; Brem, Alexander et al. | International Journal of Management, March 2011 | Go to article overview

Innovation Management and Marketing in the High-Tech Sector: A Content Analysis of Advertisements


Gerhard, Daniel, Brem, Alexander, Baccarella, Christian, Voigt, Kai-Ingo, International Journal of Management


Advertizing high-technology products is a tricky and critical task for every company, since it means operating in an environment with high market uncertainty. The work presents results of a content analysis of 110 adverts for consumer electronics products which examines how these products and the incorporated technology are communicated to the customer. Based on established coding schemes, the content and the appeals of the adverts are evaluated by coders. The results show that these adverts are very informative, mainly have rational appeals and feature products being in the early stage of their life cycles. Regarding the specific content, the 'mother brand' is shown to play a very important role. On the other hand, the results show that incorporated technology, its superiority and functionality do not play an important role in the advertisements

Introduction

Technology plays an essential role in international competition (Mandel, 2000). Today, advances in all fields of high-technology are applied to products in many industries and not only in typical high-technology industries like electronics or telecommunications. Consequently, products which are based on one or even more sophisticated technologies are offered to customers. However, customers naturally have an attitude of reservation against a (new) complex technology they do not understand, which leads to a perceived risk they take in purchasing a high-technology product (Meldrum & Millman, 1991). That is why many new products, especially technological innovations, fail after being introduced in the market (e.g. Cooper & Kleinschmidt, 2000; Gourville, 2006). Therefore, marketing for new technologies does not only involve coping with a high inherent technological risk, but also with high market uncertainty (Moriaty & Kosnik, 1989; Zhurylo & Iazvinska, 2007). These specific requirements must lead to a different marketing strategy (Gardener et al., 2000), including an adjusted communication and promotion strategy, which has not been intensively researched yet (Singh & Schoenbachler, 2001). However in general, marketing activities proved to have a positive influence on the success of a new product (e.g. Cooper and Kleinschmidt, 1 987; Cooper and Kleinschmidt, 1 993; Cooper and Klemschmidt, 2000; Langerak, Hultink & Robben, 2004). Therefore, companies need to pay attention to this topic.

Hence, the aim of this study is to examine the most promising options for promoting technologies and high-technology products, focusing on the process how information on technologies resp. high-technology products are communicated to the customers in advertisement.

Theoretical Background and Recent Research

In general, communication of technologies can be viewed from two perspectives. On the one hand, it is part of high-technology marketing, in particular of the promotion activities. On the other hand, the communication of technology and innovation-related information is part of corporate communications (Mast, Huck, & Zerfass, 2005). These perspectives can be used to draw a framework that defines the activities for communicating technology to the customer.

Corporate communications comprises all issues regarding the internal and external communication strategy of the company. Therefore, the innovation communication strategy should be embedded in this strategy. It consists of "internal innovation communications", "innovation marketing" and "innovations public relations" (Mast et al., 2005). This basic framework also applies to technologies, as innovations in this case can also include embedded technologies. Internal innovation communication addresses all actors of the company, e.g. executives and employees, and is necessary to define innovation goals and visions. Innovation marketing addresses all external stakeholders related to the company, including competitors, suppliers, traders, and customers. Finally, innovations public relations address stakeholders which have no organizational or market relation to the company, but are still important for succeeding with an innovation in the market e. …

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