Marketing in small and medium sized enterprises

Mike Simpson (Sheffield University Management School, Sheffield, UK)
Jo Padmore (Sheffield University Management School, Sheffield, UK)
Nick Taylor (Faculty of Business and Law, University of Lincoln, Lincoln, UK)
Jane Frecknall‐Hughes (Sheffield University Management School, Sheffield, UK)

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research

ISSN: 1355-2554

Publication date: 1 November 2006



The purpose of this paper is to report on a full‐scale testing of the role of marketing and its relevance in small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). The objective is to present the results of a rigorous assessment of a new model of marketing in SMEs.


A positivist approach relied on the use of the hypothetico‐deductive method to produce the theoretical model. Both quantitative and qualitative research methods were applied to investigate the model. This paper reports on a large‐scale questionnaire survey, follow‐up interviews with SMEs owner‐managers and the use of published accounts to show how companies have performed during this study.


The role and relevance model of marketing in SMEs has been thoroughly investigated and tested. The model offers a straightforward way of diagnosing the situation within an SME. The simplicity of the model allows for a clearer understanding of what is often a complex and messy situation within these companies and their business environment. Some findings suggest a positive link between a company's financial performance and its approach to marketing within the model.

Practical implications

The paper concludes that the model goes a long way to explaining the behaviour of SMEs with regard to marketing. The model appears to be viable and could be used to analyse and diagnose the situation regarding marketing within SMEs.


The paper offers a unique theoretical and practical insight into the issue of marketing in SMEs.



Simpson, M., Padmore, J., Taylor, N. and Frecknall‐Hughes, J. (2006), "Marketing in small and medium sized enterprises", International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, Vol. 12 No. 6, pp. 361-387.

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Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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