Innovating with Underutilized Marketing Strategies to Enhance Profitability for Small Retail-related Firms

Date
2016-11-08
Authors
Niehm, Linda
Dorie, Amy
Fiore, Ann
Jablon, Sara
Fiore, Ann Marie
Hurst, Jessica
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Fiore, Ann
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Abstract

To remain competitive and profitable, small businesses today face increased pressure to innovate by adding novel products, services, or marketing practices that create customer value. The present paper focuses on the perceived use of three groups of underutilized marketing strategies by small business operators engaged in retail-related operations (apparel and retail stores, restaurants, hotels, service operations). These marketing strategies included entrepreneurial marketing (EM), experiential marketing (4Es), and branding strategies (brand distinctiveness and brand image). EM consisted of four validated processes (opportunity vigilance, consumer-centric innovation, risk management, and value creation) that firms undertake when developing new and innovative ways to market products and create value for customers. Pine and Gilmore's four experiential realms, the 4Es (educational, esthetic, escapist and entertainment experiences) were explored. Branding strategies captured brand distinctiveness and the creation of a unified brand image measured through perceived attention to the brand's 5Ps (property, product, product presentation, promotion, and people). The relationship of these practices to financial performance of small business operations was tested. Results of the study show that an integrated marketing approach including entrepreneurial marketing (EM), experience economy 4Es, brand image, and brand distinctiveness is characteristic of successful small retail-related enterprises, but not fully utilized in all business categories. Thus, business operators would be wise to implement marketing strategies that fit the needs of their business. Small business assistance programs may also consider recommending these underutilized and innovative marketing strategies when designing support for specific categories of small business operators.

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