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Leveraging marketing capabilities into competitive advantage and export performance

Qun Tan (Xiamen University Management School, Xiamen University, Xiamen, China)
Carlos M.P. Sousa (Durham University Business School, Durham University, Durham, UK)

International Marketing Review

ISSN: 0265-1335

Article publication date: 9 February 2015




By using the dynamic capabilities (DC) theory and the theory of competitive advantage, the purpose of this paper is to develop a framework to investigate the role of marketing capabilities on the firm’s export performance. Specifically, this framework depicts the consequences of marketing capabilities and focuses on the relationships among marketing capabilities, competitive advantage, and export performance.


The authors conduct a meta-analysis of the literature on marketing capabilities and use multivariate analyses to test the framework.


The study revealed that competitive advantage has an important mediating role in the relationship between marketing capabilities and export performance. Specifically, the authors found that two types of competitive advantage (i.e. low-cost advantage and differentiation advantage) positively mediate the effect of marketing capabilities on export performance.


Although research on marketing capabilities is still in its early infancy, the study provides a base from which future work can be developed. The authors also contribute to the literature by examining the mediating role of competitive advantage in the marketing capability-export performance relationship, thereby offering new insights into how and why marketing capabilities play a crucial role in explaining the firm’s export performance.



Tan, Q. and Sousa, C.M.P. (2015), "Leveraging marketing capabilities into competitive advantage and export performance", International Marketing Review, Vol. 32 No. 1, pp. 78-102.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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