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Journal cover: Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development

ISSN: 1462-6004

Online from: 1994

Subject Area: Enterprise and Innovation

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The role of the marketing function in small and medium sized enterprises

Document Information:
Title:The role of the marketing function in small and medium sized enterprises
Author(s):Michael F. Walsh, (College of Business and Economics, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia, USA), John Lipinski, (School of Business, Robert Morris University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA)
Citation:Michael F. Walsh, John Lipinski, (2009) "The role of the marketing function in small and medium sized enterprises", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 16 Iss: 4, pp.569 - 585
Keywords:Competitive advantage, Marketing strategy, Small to medium-sized enterprises, United States of America
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/14626000911000929 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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.

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