Inderscience Publishers

The role of marketing and innovation management in the Finnish electrical and electronics industry

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Very often in industrial companies, the role of marketing is perceived from too narrow a perspective. A more comprehensive view of marketing identifies three distinct roles of marketing: marketing as business philosophy at corporate level, marketing as strategy at business level, and marketing as tactics (marketing mix) at functional level. Thus, marketing is a synthesis of particular skills and practices learned and resources created translating the philosophy into specific business strategies in order to achieve competitive advantages and superior performance. The empirical study is based on a survey concerning a sample of manufacturing companies with national and international operations. The 42 companies or divisions comprise 38% of the member companies or divisions of the Finnish Electrical and Electronics Industry Association. Market orientation of these companies or divisions was assessed with MARKOR scale of Kohli, Jaworski and Kumar. The Miles and Snow strategy typology - prospectors, analysers, defenders and reactors - is a very extensively used approach when business strategy has been investigated. In this sample, it was shown that market orientation is very high in the seven prospector companies or divisions and high or very high in the 26 analyser companies or divisions. Both prospectors and analysers are also keenly following latest developments in technology. Further, differences in business strategies and practices, as well as differences in marketing strategies and practices, innovation management between successful and unsuccessful companies or divisions and between companies or divisions at different levels of market orientation were examined. Emphasis in this research is on identifying strategies and practices of innovation management that enhance a close working relationship between marketing and R&D, and that enable companies to survive and thrive in the turbulent and competitive market environments, as in the electronics industry, at present and in the future.

Keywords: innovation management, marketing, market orientation, marketing capability, strategic management, the Miles and Snow typology, electronics industry

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