Market definition in industrial high-technology markets

Arthur Ted Weinstein, Florida International University


This dissertation analyzes how marketers define markets in technology-based industries. One of the most important strategic decisions marketers face is determining the optimal market for their products. Market definition is critical in dynamic high technology markets characterized by high levels of market and technological uncertainty. Building on literature from marketing and related disciplines, this research is the first in-depth study of market definition in industrial markets. Using a national, probability sample stratified by firm size, 1,000 marketing executives in nine industries (automation, biotechnology, computers, medical equipment and instrumentation, pharmaceuticals, photonics, software, subassemblies and components, and telecommunications) were surveyed via a mail questionnaire. A 20.8% net response rate yielding 203 surveys was achieved. The market structure-conduct-performance (SCP) paradigm from industrial organization provided a conceptual basis for testing a causal market definition model via LISREL. A latent exogenous variable (competitive intensity) and four latent endogenous variables (marketing orientation, technological orientation, market definition criteria, and market definition success) were used to develop and test hypothesized relationships among constructs. Research questions relating to market redefinition, market definition characteristics, and internal (within the firm) and external (competitive) market definition were also investigated. Market definition success was found to be positively associated with a marketing orientation and the use of market definition criteria. Technological orientation was not significantly related to market definition success. Customer needs were the key market definition characteristic to high-tech firms (technology, competition, customer groups, and products were also important). Market redefinition based on changing customer needs was the most effective of seven strategies tested. A majority of firms regularly defined their market at the corporate and product-line level within the firm. From a competitive perspective, industry, industry sector, and product-market definitions were used most frequently.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Weinstein, Arthur Ted, "Market definition in industrial high-technology markets" (1991). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI9209622.