Strategic Marketing in SMEs


Strat Mar Man in Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, Special issue of Intl Entrepreneurship & Man J, Edited by Audrey Gilmore, Sascha Kraus, Michele O?Dwyer and Morgan Miles; Deadline 31 May 2010

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Special Issue Call for Papers

Volume 7, Issue 1
March 2011

“Strategic Marketing Management in Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises”

Submission Deadline- Complete papers only
May 31, 2010

Special issue editors:

Prof. Audrey Gilmore, University of Ulster, UK
Prof. Sascha Kraus, University of Liechtenstein & Utrecht University, The Netherlands
Dr. Michele O’Dwyer, University of Limerick, Ireland
Prof. Morgan Miles, Georgia Southern University, USA

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) often face diverse strategic challenges and opportunities when operating in a variety of different industrial and geographical contexts. Traditionally, the marketing concept and strategic marketing management have often been perceived as corporate management philosophies driven largely by the needs and capabilities of larger organisations. Although the intrinsic value of a traditional approach to marketing management concepts is acknowledged, it is also recognised that a context specific approach may more effectively leverage the marketing and entrepreneurial capabilities of SMEs (Hills, 1987). Indeed there has been a recent shift towards “rethinking marketing” in terms of SMEs from an entrepreneurial and management perspective (Carson et al., 1995; Coviello and Brodie, 2000; Bjerke and Hultman, 2002; Morris et al., 2002; Schindehutte et al., 2009).

Management in SMEs has been of interest to researchers for some time (Hills 1984, 1987; Bjerke and Hultman, 2002). A number of conceptual frameworks have been proposed, for example the stages/growth model, the management style model, the management function model and the contingency approach (Siu and Kirby, 1998). Each of these models has some relevance to SMEs facing different marketing contexts, but none fully capture the domain of strategic marketing issues in SMEs.

Initially SMEs (like many organisations) often start out embracing entrepreneurship in order to succeed in an increasingly competitive and dynamic environment. However as companies grow, they tend to become increasingly administrative and less entrepreneurial as management refocuses on the tactical marketing activities (Stevenson and Gumpert, 1985). Intrapreneurship or corporate entrepreneurship initiatives, including corporate venturing and strategic renewal, have been discussed as a way to renew entrepreneurship within an existing firm, but very little has been done to better understand how SMEs might encourage these entrepreneurial initiatives to renew their competitive position (Carrier, 1996).

Given that marketing plays a boundary-spanning role between SMEs and their stakeholders, it encompasses the activities that identify customer requirements and areas of potential competitive advantage for an SME. SMEs operating in competitive environments use marketing to create value, generate sales and drive organisational performance, and over time tend to engage in innovative marketing, strategic planning, entrepreneurial marketing and internationalisation as renewal mechanisms.

This IEMJ special issue aims to advance theoretical and empirical understanding of strategic marketing management in the context of SMEs. It also aims to explore how SMEs strategically use intrapreneurship (Burgelmen, 1983; Carrier, 1996). Papers should aim to advance our theoretical understanding of the strategic marketing process in SMEs. We welcome in particular new conceptual perspectives, and comparative assessments of the suitability of alternative theoretical perspectives. Papers may also integrate contemporary theories of management, entrepreneurship and resources with traditional theoretical concepts and frameworks.

These theoretical advances should explain the marketing management challenges faced by SMEs, such as:

  • How do SMEs leverage entrepreneurial marketing processes to enhance their competitive position?
  • How do / should SMEs strategically manage induced and emergent entrepreneurship within their own organisation?
  • How do SMEs use intrapreneurship or corporate entrepreneurship, including venturing and strategic renewal, to gain or renew competitive advantage?
  • How do internationalised SMEs manage their business in a diversity of local contexts?
  • How do SMEs manage networks in dynamic global markets?
  • How do specific aspects of context, for example cultural norms, influence SME strategies and operations?
  • How do SMEs design, select and adapt their business models for different markets?


Papers should be submitted by email to or The editors welcome informal enquiries and can be contacted by email:,, Papers will subject to the IEMJ review procedures. Papers should be formatted using the IEMJ style guidelines.