Technology Marketing of Small and Medium-Sized Manufacturing Firms through the Use of Websites
This paper discusses technology marketing needed by small and medium-sized manufacturing firms and evaluates the effectiveness and challenges of strategies for being found by potential customers. For the research method, the researcher first set propositions and examined them through the use of preliminary questionnaires, identifying important issues. Next, important issues were explored in detail by conducting interviews, through which new insights were obtained. The first proposition is that “a strategy for being found by potential customers through making the company’s own technologies visible” is effective. The second proposition is that companies’ own websites are optimal as a method for discovery by potential customers. The third proposition is that avoiding imitation by competitors and protecting customers’ technological secrets are major challenges. After examining these propositions, it was found that the propositions are almost verified, acquiring new findings relating to the challenges. The first finding is that to avoid imitation by competitors, small and medium-sized manufacturing firms should keep their original manufacturing facilities and processes secret. The second finding is that because small and medium-sized manufacturing firms are mainly engaged in BtoB businesses, it is difficult to describe their technologies clearly, and potential customers are limited. The third finding is that appropriate proposals to solve customers’ problems are required and small and medium-sized manufacturing firms need to develop their organizational structures to do so.
Finally, it was concluded that websites are the most effective means available to small and medium-sized manufacturing firms for being found by potential customers and at the same time there are several challenges which must be overcome.