Purpose: This paper aims to explore the relationship between corporate cultural/intangible assets and marketing capabilities by examining managers’ and entrepreneurs’ perceptions in a retail setting.
Design/methodology/approach: Nineteen face-to-face interviews were conducted with UK small and medium sized enterprise (SMEs) managers and entrepreneurs to identify six sub-capabilities that form marketing capability. The authors further validated the relationship between marketing sub-capabilities and its antecedent tangible and intangible assets. The qualitative approach used provided a deeper insight into the motivations, perceptions and associations of the stakeholders behind these intangible concepts, and their relationships with their customers.
Findings: The research identified that there is a strong relationship between tangible and intangible assets, their components and the following capabilities: corporate/brand identity management, market sensing, customer relationship, social media/communication, design/innovation management and performance management. In addition, companies need to understand clearly what tangible and intangible assets comprise these capabilities. Where performance management is one of the key internal capabilities, companies must highlight the importance of strong cultural assets that substantially contribute to a company’s performance.
Originality/value: Previous work on dynamic capability analysis is too generic, predominantly relating to the manufacturing sector, and/or focussing on using a single case study example. This study extends the concept of marketing capability in a retail setting by identifying six sub-capabilities and describing the relationship of each with tangible and intangible assets. Through extensive qualitative analysis, the authors provide evidence that by fully exploiting their embedded culture and other intangible components, companies can more favourably engage with their customers to attain a sustainable competitive advantage.