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A multidimensional study of the key determinants of effective SME marketing activity: Part 1

Hill, Jimmy (2001) A multidimensional study of the key determinants of effective SME marketing activity: Part 1. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research, 7 (5). pp. 171-204. ISSN 1355-2554

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This monograph is the consequence of a variety of experiences. It reflects an interest in SMEs and entrepreneurship stretching back almost 17 years from the author's days in the fresh food industry. It reflects knowledge from a series of studies and projects in which the author has been engaged since commencement of an academic career in 1990. In particular, it reflects the findings of a five-year piece of doctoral research that the author conducted with 57 firms in Ireland and the UK between 1995-1999. The study seeks to identify the key determinants of SME marketing activity. The research objectives focused on determining a framework of marketing competencies for SMEs, the extent of formal marketing processes practised, and how SME marketing decisions are made. Further research objectives emerged (these were inductive in nature) that focused on determining the extent of the sales orientation in SMEs and on gaining insights into the use and character of the contact networks of the individuals who manage such enterprises. A syncretised qualitative methodology was developed for the study. The research approach was both deductive and inductive. The analytical strategy adopted a range of tools but was predominantly characterised by data reduction through detailed coding and the development of strict frameworks for analysis. The findings identified a spectrum of marketing competencies for SMEs. It existed at three levels - foundation, transitional and operational. It was shown that the sales orientation of SMEs is what determines their marketing character. A core spectrum of SME sales competencies was identified. It showed significant overlap with the marketing competency spectrum. It was concluded that, since the sales orientation determines the marketing competencies, it also shapes the marketing character of SMEs. The sample firms engaged in significant formal marketing practice, most notably marketing planning. Marketing practice and decisions were characterised by significant usage of personal contact networks. Contact networks were also rooted in a strong sales orientation. It was clear that many marketing decisions that are ostensibly operational in character become strategic or eventually effect strategic change in the marketing practices of SMEs. A holistic model of SME marketing was developed. The model is an integrated complex of the elements of SME marketing examined. Whilst the holistic model developed is entrepreneurial in character, it depicts the SME as a much more sophisticated marketing entity than has been suggested in any previous research.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > Marketing
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > Small Business Sector
Divisions: School of Business > Staff Research and Publications
Depositing User: Caoimhe Ní Mhaicín
Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2014 12:06
Last Modified: 08 Oct 2014 12:06

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