Purpose – To take a more holistic and integrated view than in existing studies of export capability among small and medium‐sized enterprises, by exploring the key components of marketing management, and the blend of processes, practices and activities most closely associated with high levels of overall export performance. Design/methodology/approach – The principal research instrument is the export marketing profiling system developed by the authors over a five‐year period, which provided the framework for data collection and analysis. Findings are derived from 250 semi‐structured interviews conducted in SMEs in the Yorkshire and Humber region of the UK. Findings – The study identified 17 key practices, processes and activities that, taken together, are closely associated with export performance. They relate primarily to export marketing strategy, and suggest that a blend of capabilities in the areas of knowledge management (including market research and marketing intelligence), relationship‐building, product strategy and pricing are most closely associated with success. Practical implications – The study has particular implications for business‐support providers. The findings could be used to assess and evaluate export capability in a wider sense. The conceptual framework could serve as a diagnostic tool for the identification of the areas of operation in which support, intervention and investment might have the greatest impact on overall export capability. Further research in these areas would be of particular importance in the drive to understand the relationship between export capability and performance. Originality/value – This study's holistic approach to identifying the blend of capabilities most closely associated with high levels of export performance could inform national and local government policy in respect of the role of support agencies in improving the export performance of SMEs, in the UK or elsewhere. It offers a template for further research into key practices, processes and activities.
Marketing Intelligence & Planning – Emerald Publishing
Published: Oct 1, 2006
Keywords: Marketing management; International marketing; Exports; Small‐to‐medium sized enterprises; United Kingdom
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