Canon is a Japan-based manufacturer, with worldwide sales exceeding US$45 billion, and profits of almost US$3 billion. Canon’s well-known product lines include business machines, medical equipment, semiconductors, cameras, video equipment, and broadcast equipment. Business products account for 75 per cent of Canon’s total annual sales, cameras represent 18 per cent of sales, and optical equipment and other products comprise 7 per cent of sales. In most of its markets throughout the world, Canon’s major competitors are other Japan-based manufacturers, such as Sharp (which has a strong line of inexpensive photocopiers and other products aimed at the same small-business market that Canon often pursues, Minolta ( Japan’s largest camera manufacturer and Nikon (known for its technologically advanced products). It also competes against such U.S. firms as Xerox, Kodak and RCA. In 1985, Canon was the 125th largest firm in Fortune’s ranking of industrial corporations outside the United Stats; today it is in the top 100,
Because it is highly committed toward maximizing its long-term performance (as are most Japanese companies), Canon re-evaluated its overall Marketing approach and strategy - so that it may prepare properly for the future. In particular, Canon addressed these two areas: its need to be more market-oriented; and the need to maintain its strong level of foreign sales, particularly in North America and Europe.
Over the years, Canon viewed itself as a technology-driven company. According to its corporate communications manager, “we aim to develop our own unique technologies, which can then form the basis of our products.” As a result, Canons new - product development has been considered a function of Research & Development, not Marketing. But then, the firm realized that this approach must be modified:
Canon must change from a product-oriented company to a market-oriented one. Until now we have...