Small Business Marketing Capability in the Food Sector: The Cases of Belgium, Hungary and Italy

Alessandro Banterle, Laura Carraresi, Stefanella Stranieri


The purpose of thie paper is to assess the marketing management capabilities of SMEs producing traditional food products in the EU through thge development of a self-evaluation tool.

SMEs represent the greater part of European food firms and they find it very difficult to adapt to market changes, and to compete with big enterprises. In this context, marketing management capabilities play a key role in good SME performance in the market. The self-evaluation tool is developed in the innovative form of an interactive questionnaire published on the web. At the moment, the sample is composed by 60 traditional food producers located in three member states (Belgium, Italy, and Hungary) belonging to different sectors (cheese, beer, dry ham, sausage and white pepper). The data were analysed with cluster analysis. The results of the survey revealed that most of the firms analysed show weaknesses in marketing management capabilities. Nevertheless, cluster analysis pointed out a group of firms (22% of the sample) with high performances in all the stages of marketing management process, which can be defined market oriented in terms of MARKOR approach. Most firms showed difficulties in analysing the competitive environment in which they operate, and in controlling the achievement of the marketing objectives. Moreover, the survey showed that, generally, micro sized firms perform worse than small and medium enterprises. Nevertheless, in some cases micro firms achieved high performances revealing that the firm size is not a so insuperable constraint to reach good results in marketing.


marketing capabilities; traditional food; SMEs; cluster analysis

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ISSN 1869-6945


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