SMEs and Marketing: A Systematic Literature Review

di Roberta Bocconcelli, Marco Cioppi, Fulvio Fortezza, Barbara Francioni, Alessandro Pagano, Elisabetta Savelli, Simone Splendiani

in International Journal of Management Reviews


This paper presents a systematic review of recent academic literature analysing the role, organization and management of marketing activities in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). To this end, 310 articles published between 2006 and 2015 in 69 main journals devoted to small firms/entrepreneurship and management/marketing fields were analysed. This review shows that SMEs’ marketing has received great attention in both management and marketing literature in recent years. Findings reveal, on the one hand, the emerging role of networks and information and communication technologies in marketing behaviour by SMEs, and on the other hand a research gap in terms of specific marketing practices. Entrepreneurial marketing has been used as the main conceptual framework in reviewed studies, even if findings overall still point out a distance between the theoretical bases of reviewed contributions and the study of SMEs’ marketing behaviour and practices. Therefore, future research on the role of resources, relationships and networks could benefit from the combination of theories developed within the field of entrepreneurship with other approaches such as the resource-based view, the dynamic capabilities theory and the Industrial Marketing and Purchasing (IMP) framework.



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