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Understanding the patterns of market orientation among small businesses

Understanding the patterns of market orientation among small businesses Purpose – To assess the patterns of market orientation within the small business sector. Design/methodology/approach – After a pilot study involving interviews with owner‐managers, and covert and overt observation of small businesses' marketing practices, depth interviews by telephone and face‐to‐face were conducted in one state of the USA. Data, collected in the form of protocols and means‐end maps for individual owner‐managers, were analyzed by inductive reasoning. Findings – The study confirmed the appropriateness of the market orientation framework for the small business sector. Findings included a distinctive “marketing style” (strong emphasis on customer care and employee welfare; motivation; and market intelligence) related to size of the firms surveyed, the personality of the owner‐manager, the available resources and the nature of the operating environment. Despite absence of a formal approach to market research and marketing planning, this “style” was found to have a positive effect on margins and market share. Research limitations/implications – Future studies could usefully investigate larger samples in broader geographic settings, including countries at all stages of economic development. It should also examine causal links among the “constructs” of market orientation. Practical implications – The findings provide small business owner‐managers, policy makers and researchers with a framework for the measurement and evaluation of market orientation in small businesses, which could be adapted to specific conditions or used as a source of performance benchmarks. Originality/value – This paper offers useful and candid insights into the application of market orientation by small businesses, distilled from in‐depth investigation of the motivations underlying respondents' marketing decisions and initiatives. It thus supplements the largely quantitative studies of market orientation in the literature to date. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Marketing Intelligence & Planning Emerald Publishing

Understanding the patterns of market orientation among small businesses

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References (97)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2006 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0263-4503
DOI
10.1108/02634500610701663
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – To assess the patterns of market orientation within the small business sector. Design/methodology/approach – After a pilot study involving interviews with owner‐managers, and covert and overt observation of small businesses' marketing practices, depth interviews by telephone and face‐to‐face were conducted in one state of the USA. Data, collected in the form of protocols and means‐end maps for individual owner‐managers, were analyzed by inductive reasoning. Findings – The study confirmed the appropriateness of the market orientation framework for the small business sector. Findings included a distinctive “marketing style” (strong emphasis on customer care and employee welfare; motivation; and market intelligence) related to size of the firms surveyed, the personality of the owner‐manager, the available resources and the nature of the operating environment. Despite absence of a formal approach to market research and marketing planning, this “style” was found to have a positive effect on margins and market share. Research limitations/implications – Future studies could usefully investigate larger samples in broader geographic settings, including countries at all stages of economic development. It should also examine causal links among the “constructs” of market orientation. Practical implications – The findings provide small business owner‐managers, policy makers and researchers with a framework for the measurement and evaluation of market orientation in small businesses, which could be adapted to specific conditions or used as a source of performance benchmarks. Originality/value – This paper offers useful and candid insights into the application of market orientation by small businesses, distilled from in‐depth investigation of the motivations underlying respondents' marketing decisions and initiatives. It thus supplements the largely quantitative studies of market orientation in the literature to date.

Journal

Marketing Intelligence & PlanningEmerald Publishing

Published: Oct 1, 2006

Keywords: Market orientation; Small enterprises; Qualitative methods; United States of America

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