The role of the marketing function in small and medium sized enterprises
Authors: Walsh, Michael F.; Lipinski, John
Source: Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Volume 16, Number 4, 2009 , pp. 569-585(17)
Publisher: Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Abstract:Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine marketing in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), its role as a driver of competitive advantage, and, therefore, its importance to the firm. Design/methodology/approach – The study is conducted with 100 SMEs located in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States. Findings – The marketing function is not as well developed or influential in SMEs as it is in large corporations. Two environmental factors, type of market (consumer) and firm orientation (hierarchal), facilitate marketing's influence within a firm. Research limitations/implications – Analyses conducted and conclusions reached in this research are based on a very limited sample of SMEs located in one region of one country. Broader sampling would help in generalization of the findings. Practical implications – The results of this study are particularly troubling because marketing resources are one driver of competitive advantage. For marketing to increase in influence, individuals trained in marketing must gain a seat at the management table. Although marketing departments are responsible for marketing the firm's products and services, the job of marketers themselves internally remains unclear. Marketing departments must do more to ensure that marketing's voice is heard when key decisions are made. Originality/value – This research fills a gap in the literature relating to the influence of marketing in SMEs. More importantly, the findings differ from conclusions raised by a similar study conducted for larger firms.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2009