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Networks and marketing in small professional service businesses

Networks and marketing in small professional service businesses Purpose – This paper aims to explore networks in relation to small professional service businesses. Both the structural and relational components of networks are considered to better understand what networks are and how they operate. The paper investigates the link between networks and marketing and discusses the extent to which small professional service businesses use their networks for marketing activities. Design/methodology/approach – The literature review identifies key elements of professional service businesses, networks and marketing activities. The primary research is qualitative by design and exploratory in nature and used a multi-case study approach. Data were collected from five small management consultancy businesses through in-depth interviews using semi-structured questionnaires. Findings – The study finds that small professional service businesses lack the business/marketing language to articulate their approaches and values. They are increasingly relying on collaboration to deliver changing services. Findings show that “core groups” are highly significant in the structure of their networks. Furthermore, while most connections are work-related, networks are not strategically motivated. Linkages are strong and motivations to network and networking activities are both short and long term. Generating work and developing lasting collaborative relationships is based on similar values and interests. Originality/value – The study offers insight and practical understanding on the relations that small businesses have with their networks. It also builds and adds value to the theory of network and networking in both the small business field and professional services related industry. It explores networks by considering the structural and relational components separately whilst also highlighting their interconnection. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Research in Marketing and Entrepreneurship Emerald Publishing

Networks and marketing in small professional service businesses

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
1471-5201
DOI
10.1108/JRME-03-2015-0023
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – This paper aims to explore networks in relation to small professional service businesses. Both the structural and relational components of networks are considered to better understand what networks are and how they operate. The paper investigates the link between networks and marketing and discusses the extent to which small professional service businesses use their networks for marketing activities. Design/methodology/approach – The literature review identifies key elements of professional service businesses, networks and marketing activities. The primary research is qualitative by design and exploratory in nature and used a multi-case study approach. Data were collected from five small management consultancy businesses through in-depth interviews using semi-structured questionnaires. Findings – The study finds that small professional service businesses lack the business/marketing language to articulate their approaches and values. They are increasingly relying on collaboration to deliver changing services. Findings show that “core groups” are highly significant in the structure of their networks. Furthermore, while most connections are work-related, networks are not strategically motivated. Linkages are strong and motivations to network and networking activities are both short and long term. Generating work and developing lasting collaborative relationships is based on similar values and interests. Originality/value – The study offers insight and practical understanding on the relations that small businesses have with their networks. It also builds and adds value to the theory of network and networking in both the small business field and professional services related industry. It explores networks by considering the structural and relational components separately whilst also highlighting their interconnection.

Journal

Journal of Research in Marketing and EntrepreneurshipEmerald Publishing

Published: Oct 19, 2015

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