Date of Conferral



Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)


Business Administration


Michael Ewald


Despite defibrillation as the only effective treatment for sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), less than 15% of homes and public facilities have access to an automated external defibrillator (AED). In the United States, ineffective response to SCA cases occurring each year classifies it as a business problem for medical device manufacturing leaders, emergency responders, and bystanders. The purpose of this multicase study was to explore the marketing strategies AED manufacturing leaders use to expand their consumer customer base. Data were collected via in-depth interviews with a purposive sample of participants from 2 U.S. AED manufacturers on the east coast, 2 AED distributors, and 2 healthcare corporations in Texas, as well as a review of company materials. The framework for this study was product life cycle theory. Initial findings for expanding the U.S. AED market indicated that the market was not led by its manufacturers but by its distributors. This finding became an important theme noted from AED manufacturers in considering the consumer segment, an aftermarket from commercial marketing strategies. A common concern for the security of strategic marketing was evident across the AED manufacturer participants with reluctance to discuss business models and marketing plans. A congruent theme was the curtailment of open discussions regarding AED marketing strategies because of security and confidentiality risk. Also, limited number of approved AED manufacturers by the Federal Drug Administration minimizes AED access. Residual outcomes include improving the quality of life for the aging population while reducing the loss of the lives and costs of healthcare. Social implications include preventing sudden cardiac death by providing more accessibility of AEDs to baby boomers.