A Commentary on Current Research at the Marketing and Entrepreneurship Interface

By Miles, Morgan P.; Darroch, Jenny | Journal of Small Business Management, January 2008 | Go to article overview

A Commentary on Current Research at the Marketing and Entrepreneurship Interface


Miles, Morgan P., Darroch, Jenny, Journal of Small Business Management


Office Depot's generous support of the Journal of Small Business Management's Small Business Research Forum and special issue on marketing and entrepreneurship has resulted in a series of excellent paper presentations from which this special issue was developed. The two papers that we had the pleasure to work with, and in one case actually present for the authors, were "Brand Management in Small to Medium-Sized Enterprise," by Pierre Berthon, Michael T. Ewing, and Julie Napoli and "Understanding Market-Driving Behavior: The Role of Entrepreneurship," by Minet Schindehutte, Mike Morris, and Akin Kocak. We will discuss each paper in terms of what makes the paper important to scholars who work at the marketing and entrepreneurship interface, potential extensions, and the common theoretical domain that both papers converge upon.

Brand Management in Small to Medium-Sized Enterprises

This paper is an extension of the Ewing and Napoli (2005) brand orientation scale for not-for profits applied to a for-profit small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) context. Berthon, Ewing, and Napoli (2006) contribute greatly to our understanding of the value of an intangible asset (the brand) in the ability of an SME to leverage marketing capabilities to build competitive advantage. The authors propose that brand management practices (BMPs) are performance drivers and those BMPs can be used to help "differentiate high-versus low-performing" SMEs and large organizations (Berthon, Ewing, and Napoli 2006).

BMP metrics were derivd from Keller's (2000) brand report card and Ewing and Napoli's (2005) nonprofit brand orientation scale. These items were then adapted for SMEs in a for-profit context. This procedure resulted in a 37-item scale that purports to measure 10 BMPs dimensions. After a reliability assessment, three scales were found to have notably high coefficient alphas (.80 or greater): (1) "using the full repertoire of marketing activities to build equity"; (2) "managers understand what the brand means to consumers"; and (3) "company monitors sources of brand equity." Organizational performance metrics were subjective and included questions about the firm's relative return on investment, market share, and ability to serve its customers.

Berthon, Ewing, and Napoli (2006) found that BMPs do, indeed, influence organizational performance in a significant and positive manner. In fact, BMPs may be a very effective way for SMEs to enhance their ability to create competitive advantage. The authors also found that there were some differences between the BMPs of large organizations and the BMPs of SMEs that may be a function of resources and capabilities.

Three major contributions of the Berthon, Ewing, and Napoli (2006) study may be used for further research at the marketing/entrepreneurship interface. The first contribution is that SMEs, in fact, use marketing and leverage BMPs differently than larger, better-resourced organizations. Differences were found in the ability to both monitor customer needs and measure the effectiveness of BMPs between SMEs and larger organizations. This supports the work of many marketing scholars who suggest that the marketing processes are different in SMEs (see for example Buskirk and Lavik 2004; Bjerke and Hultman 2002; Collingson and Shaw 2001; Carson and Gilmore 2000; Hills and LaForge 1992). The paper also found that high-performing SMEs implement BMPs to a greater extent than low-performing SMEs, thus showing the importance of brands and effective brand management in influencing firm performance. A further contribution is the development of psychometrically sound metrics for some of the dimensions of BMP adapted for SMEs. This work provides a foundation for the further development of an empirically based understanding of the marketing practices of SMEs (and also BMPs in other contexts).

Understanding Market-Driving Behavior: The Role of Entrepreneurship

The work in this issue by Schindehutte, Morris, and Kocak (2006) greatly contributes to our understanding of the interface between marketing and entrepreneurship by suggesting that an entrepreneurial orientation (EO) is but one of many business orientations that a firm will adopt concurrently. …

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