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Hanken School of Economics Working Papers, Hanken School of Economics

No 531:
Exploring Marketing in Micro Firms

Karolina Wägar (), Peter Björk (), Annika Ravald () and Björn West ()

Abstract: Purpose - The purpose of the paper is to explore the practice of marketing in micro firms. Which are the challenges micro firms encounter and how do they handle them? Methodology - The research methodology is based on the theory-in-use approach (Zaltman, Heffring & LeMasters 1982) in order to inductively explore the practice of marketing in micro firms. The empirical findings rest on ten case studies, where data has been generated through repeated interactions with each case. Findings - The empirical findings show that micro firms handle their marketing challenges in a distinctive manner, by creatively using available resources and network relations. Marketing in micro firms is largely about a long-term, gradual development of a position on the market. This process we label germinal marketing. Two key dimensions of germinal marketing were identified: earning your position and being your brand. Research limitations and implications - The findings rest on an explorative study consisting of ten cases and the general applicability of the results need to be validated by further studies. These cases are however sufficient to illuminate the need for further research into the area. Value of the paper - The value of the paper is twofold. First, it expands the theory-in-use approach, and presents a research method for successful inductive empirical studies of small firm phenomena. Secondly, the paper widens our understanding of the marketing reality and practice of micro firms, identifying new dimensions of marketing and revealing the strategic implications of ordinary business activities.

Keywords: theory-in-use; marketing; micro firm; interactive research; germinal; (follow links to similar papers)

15 pages, October 17, 2007

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