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Paper info: Drivers and Challenges of Launching Innovative Industrial Technology Applications through Customer Projects


Drivers and Challenges of Launching Innovative Industrial Technology Applications through Customer Projects


Tuula Lehtimaki

Place of Publication

The paper was published at the 27th IMP-conference in Glasgow, Scotland in 2011.


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The launch literature discusses launch drivers quite a lot, but launch challenges, however, have gained less research attention. It is argued, that both the drivers and the challenges need to be understood in order to manage launch successfully. In addition, launch studies have made context distinctions between consumer and industrial product launch, whereas for example the different types of industrial products have not been examined even though the context-dependent nature of launch is acknowledged. This study aims to refine understanding of industrial launch by examining launch drivers and challenges in the case of an innovative technology application launched through a customer project. The findings from the case study imply that the drivers and challenges of launch in the examined context are not adequately discussed in the current launch literature, but industrial marketing, project marketing, high technology marketing and reference marketing literatures can be applied to interpret the study findings. The key areas that launch management should pay attention to in the examined context are launch process management, overcoming customer adoption barriers, sales force management, external launch communications, and new product development, of which each includes both drivers and challenges. Succeeding in the first customer project, initial launch in relation to the respective customer project, acquiring the first functioning reference, developing the application into a repeatable product, and promoting it to a broader market are the identified main steps of launch in the studied context. It is suggested that in order to make sense of the launch concept and to enhance the conditions for managing launch in the examined context, launch research could incorporate these topics into its body of knowledge by exploring the key areas of launch related to the identified launch steps and understanding the re-launches as part of the product’s life cycle.
Keywords: Launch drivers, launch challenges, industrial marketing, technology applications, innovations, project business