Academic journal article European Research Studies

Marketing and Marketing Communication in SMEs

Academic journal article European Research Studies

Marketing and Marketing Communication in SMEs

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

The marketing behaviour of businesses--as shown in the number of research studies looking into their commercial activities--depends on many internal and external factors. So it is desirable to examine, analyse and assess these factors and, subsequently, take adequate personnel, organization, strategic and tactical measures of various character: production, organizational, logistic, marketing and communication.

A survey regarding the marketing behaviour in selected companies from machinery, electrical engineering and consumer products industry about marketing and its activities was carried out in the context of a project sponsored by the Czech Grant Agency titled: Research of the Application of Decisive Market Competences and Removal of Possible Contradictions in Small- and Medium Sized Enterprises for the Faculty of Electrical Engineering of the Czech Technical University in Prague and in cooperation with AMASIA Praha (Pavlu, 2009).

The final report of the research is based on 220 completed interviews (359 manufacturing/production companies were addressed) conducted with the top ranking representatives of companies whose job description includes responsibility for marketing activities.

The research team designed the survey as a basic investigation looking into the marketing practice of companies at the level of their activities which is not often the subject of research. For the purpose of this paper we interpret only the data collected from the small- and medium-sized companies which in the sample with 220 respondents made 87 %. They are the companies with their own independent and active marketing units which in that production/manufacturing company manage the large majority of standard marketing agenda activities including marketing communication.

2. Sample characteristic

The detailed analysis reveals that the small enterprise group covers more often companies from the consumer products industry--68 %. The medium-sized category is more represented by electrical engineering companies--46 %; 16 % of the asked machinery companies have more than 250 employees. These companies do business from more than a fifth of the area of the whole Czech Republic and in two thirds are independent companies and in one third a part of a higher manufacturing/production complex that in more than two thirds is a foreign/international company.

48 % of the asked say their company's organizational chart/structure sets out an independent marketing department to perform a number of marketing activities, whereas the marketing services in the other tested companies are managed by other company units, most often by their sales department.

The biggest boom in setting up independent marketing departments in companies happened in the years 2000 to 2002 when almost two fifths of all units asked in this survey were established.

In terms of independent, active marketing activities the position of marketing units in the company's organizational structure is a very important aspect and so we needed to find out to what extent businesses perceive marketing as a part of their top management and to what extent as a part of any other department.

The marketing departments in almost three quarters of the polled companies report directly to their company directors. The detailed analysis indicates the direct link to the company director applies largely to medium-sized enterprises with 51 250 employees--78 %. In terms of the line of business the marketing units that least often report to the company director are found in the electrical engineering sector--68 % where it is more often an independent unit within another department -27 %.

The research reveals that small- and medium-sized enterprises organize their marketing departments particularly as small, slim operational units.

3. Educational structure of marketing professionals and their activities

There is no question about the fact that the qualification of marketing professionals--and the crucial role here plays the quality of their specialized marketing education--is the essential element--key to effective and efficient marketing activities. …

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