Product Management in High Technology Defense Industry Marketing

by Bart Petrini, Philip Grub



It is the purpose of this article to examine whether the product manager approach can effectively meet the challenge of defense industry marketing. It is also intended to identify some of the major characteristics of the defense industry, more specifically the high technology portion of it, and to determine what are the major marketing methods employed by high technology defense industry firms. The ultra technical sophistication required of many of the U.S. Department of Defense product requirements generated under various program management concepts that differ in and between uniformed services make monolithic marketing concepts difficult to apply in a pristine or classical way. Gradual shifts of the cost burden to the producer and increased fixed price competition with concomitants legislation make it imperative for defense related industries to employ increasingly analytical techniques to cost structuring, pricing, and profit maximization that further rule out strict application of what have been isolated as traditional managerial marketing concepts. Yet, successful defense contractors have emphasized the importance of a meld of these concepts in the afore described manner to accomplish their marketing objectives. If these contractors experience ambiguity over classically vesting authority and responsibility in one individual, it is because of the immense complexities of their contract business.

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