Every company claims that it wants to deliver value to its customers, be profitable and establish leadership in its core markets.

Such assertions seem only natural. One would expect that they'd be accompanied by a corporate strategy that supports such goals. But closer inspection usually reveals that many companies often employ product-delivery strategies that lead away from their business objectives.

Delivering products is a process that begins with a combination of innovation, technology and market sensing. Each of these driving elements contributes to the initial product concept and its development.

But, over time, and depending on the company, some driving elements demonstrate a stronger and more lasting impact on the product concept and its road map. This is not necessarily due to merit or market forces; more commonly, it's an outcome of the corporate culture and business perspectives that dominate the company.

Certain corporate functions take charge of directing the company's overall product delivery strategy. For example, in one US software firm, a business unit manager noted, "Marketing has had a relatively limited role in the past; technology is what has driven this company. We're a technology-oriented firm."

In contrast, in a US packaged-goods firm, a marketing manager said, "Engineering has absolutely no sense of the consumer. They're a group of educated technology scientists who can do amazing things, but they need focus."

Corporate business goals and wants are relatively similar across diverse industries, but the methods they use to reach their goals vary greatly. These different approaches to product delivery strategies are termed technology-driven, sales-driven and market-driven.

Take My Road: Technology-Driven

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Gabriel Steinhardt is a principal with Blackblot. For more information, visit www.blackblot.com.