Executive Summary/Abstract General Dynamics is a United States aerospace and aviation company that is headquartered in West Falls Church, Virginia. Since its inception in 1952, General Dynamics has consistently been a market leader in the production of aviation products for the defense industry, as well as for commercial airlines (General Dynamics, 2016). Regardless of budgetary cutbacks for defense spending, General Dynamics has remained financially buoyant and competitive, and has attained a strong reputation as a producer of reliable, cutting-edge, and competitively priced aircraft. General Dynamics has traditionally relied on a product diversification strategy, and has several divisions, which include Aviation, Aerospace, Combat Systems, and Marine Systems. Because of this product diversification, and its dedication to research and development, General Dynamics stands poised for continued success well into the twenty-first century, and perhaps beyond. General Dynamics is especially attuned to the changing needs of the American aviation and aerospace industries, and endeavors to remain one step ahead of the competition with regards to providing the most technologically advanced aviation products possible.
Overview of Company
The mission statement of General Dynamics is “General Dynamics is a global business aviation services company, providing comprehensive services and a global network of facilities to aircraft owners and operators” (General Dynamics, 2016). While General Dynamics has several divisions that cover a broad swath of products, the main focus of its Aviation Division is the manufacture of high quality, safe aircraft for both commercial and governmental customers. In addition to the manufacture of such aviation products, General Dynamics also offers repair and maintenance services worldwide, and has repair facilities in multiple countries across the globe. The main competitors of General Dynamics are Lockheed Martin, Huntington Ingalls Industries, and Raytheon.
General Dynamics’ specific strengths in the competitive aviation market are its longevity as a provider of aviation products, as well as its large and exceptionally highly skilled global labor force. As far as weaknesses, the most dominant of these is the great financial dependence on government contracts to generate new business and revenue. If the United States government decides to drastically reduce defense spending, that can be ruinous to General Dynamics. In regards to market opportunities, the greatest potential source for future revenue and growth lies in General Dynamics’ aggressive expansion into the aerospace industry (Yung-Cheng & Chung-Jen, 2013). However, General Dynamics will face a significant threat from privately held aerospace competitors such as SpaceX and Virgin Airlines, both of whom have made their aerospace ambitions clear.
The primary target market for General Dynamics is the United States government and other global governments. The main aviation product of General Dynamics is warplanes, and so their main customer is, and always has been, the United States government. With regards to their aerospace division, the United Stats government is also the most reliable source of future business. The secondary target market for General Dynamics are commercial entities, such as major airlines, or entrepreneurs who want to get a foothold in the future space exploration industry, should that industry ever truly emerge (Durugbo & Erkoyuncu, 2016). While such space-focused entrepreneurs as Elon Musk and Richard Branson might have grand plans to design and manufacture their own spacecraft, the fact remains that they will be better off forming a partnership with General Dynamics and taking advantage of their long-running expertise in the design, manufacture, and servicing of aviation and aerospace products.
4 P’s Branding Strategy
The product that General Dynamics provides is a cutting-edge aviation product that is designed with the needs of the United States government and major commercial aviation service companies in mind. The pricing strategy for General Dynamics can best be described as a combination of competition and cost-plus. When a customer purchases a General Dynamics aviation product, they can rest assured that they will receive high quality maintenance and servicing for the life of the product. The fixed production costs for General Dynamics are typically quite high, as the materials necessary for the production of an aircraft are expensive. However, these costs can be quite variable, dependent upon market conditions in the aviation parts industry. General Dynamics frequently engages in competitive bidding for government contracts with its major competitors, who are Lockheed Martin, Huntington Ingalls Industries, and Raytheon. The target group, is as stated several times previously, the United States government, as well as other global governments who require advanced aviation and defense products. The target group is willing to pay a high price for a high quality aviation product.
With regards to a Distribution Plan, General Dynamics has several manufacturing facilities, placed in strategic locales throughout the world. Because of the placement of these manufacturing facilities, the company is able to deliver finished aviation goods to customers in a rapid amount of time, often well ahead of deadline. In order to reach the target market, the best strategy would be to send company representatives directly to government agents who are responsible for arranging the purchase of airplanes and aviation products for the United States government. Additionally, television and Internet marketing would be an effective strategy, as it will call attention to the many achievements of General Dynamics, as well as ensure that the company remains foremost in the minds of individual buyers when they have to make a decision regarding the selection of an aviation manufacturer. Because of the nature of the product, a social media marketing strategy would not be effective for General Dynamics. As far as an overall branding strategy goes, “The General Dynamics F-14 Tomcat will Get Your Soldiers Where They Need To Go and Help You Win!”
- Durugbo, C., & Erkoyuncu, J.A. (2016). “Mitigating uncertainty for industrial service operations: a multi-case study.” International Journal of Operations and Production Management 36 (5), 532-571.
- General Dynamics. (2016). “Our Businesses.” General Dynamics. Retrieved from http://www.generaldynamics.com.
- Yung-Cheng, H., & Chung-Jen, C. (2013). “Branding vs contract manufacturing: capability, strategy, & performance.” The Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing 28 (4), 317-334.