Marketing is not an exact science. It is not precise but rather an estimate of what is to come. Through various methodologies it provides information on several key factors. It helps define both current and future needs of customers and identifies market trends, including the impact of new technology. It also provides an estimate of the market size along with the associated unit volume and pricing trends.
The marketplace is dynamic and constantly changing. As a result, it requires continual vigilance. There are many conditions that can affect the market over time or abruptly. For example, government regulation can open or close market opportunities. Worldwide shortages of critical components or materials can impact delivery and pricing. Economic downturns can be abrupt and brutal as was the case for the telecommunications boom-bust cycle. Geopolitical situations can impact the need for technology and products such as solar power and other alternative energy sources. In some cases, disruptive technology can significantly reshape the competitive environment.
Technical marketing is the art that bridges the gap between technology and the subsequently generated products and sales. It is a means to navigate the commercialization path.
Market research usually focuses on identifying specific, known customer needs, but there are some exceptions to this rule. Steve Jobs at Apple looked at commercialization by thinking outside of the box. He viewed market intelligence as insufficient to foresee the need or potential of disruptive technologies. When asked about the types of market studies done before the Macintosh was introduced, he is quoted as saying "Did Alexander Graham Bell do any market research before he invented the telephone?" Apple is an exception. But even for disruptive technology and advanced-product concepts, market penetration will evolve much more efficiently if it involves good market understanding. Most entrepreneurs who bypass technical marketing because they think their products are revolutionary wind up on the long list of those that have failed.
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