Working Papers

Marketing and Technology: A Strategic Co-Alignment

Jan 1, 1986

Management of technology in multiproduct, multitechnology firms.

Type of Report
Think piece.

To highlight key factors involved in integrating technological considerations into the firm’s strategic plan.

Discusses strategic implications of technological change, presents a framework for evaluating options for technology strategy, and develops a “technology portfolio” analogous to the product portfolio.


  • Among the most dramatic consequences of the recent wave of technological change are shorter product life cycles, fragmented and changing market segments, new definitions of industries embracing new competitors, more decentralized decision-making, deregulation by government, and increased globalization of markets.
  • The firm should treat all forms of technology, i.e., know-how–including product technology, process technology, and management technology–as an asset from which it tries to maximize returns.
  • In an integrated technology strategy, the firm views the total technology asset base as a portfolio of discrete yet interdependent technologies whose constituents change over time and may require different strategies and resources. The firm allocates resources among the portfolio elements to maximize long-run returns.
  • One tool for conceptualizing the portfolio is an eight-cell matrix, of which one axis is a time dimension tracing the flow of a technology from its inception through marketplace commercialization and the other axis is a competitive-position dimension indicating the extent to which a firm is a leader in pre- and post-market phases of exploitation. It can suggest how development-intensive versus marketing-intensive a firm is and whether the inventory of technologies is balanced for optimal resource allocation.

Target Audience/Applicability
General managers and strategic planners

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