1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
A driving force for competitive scuffle in the present chaotic environment is innovative marketing strategy. Introducing new products and services are at the nucleus of economic growth and development. The ability to innovate has caused researchers to study activities leading to initiative advancement of individuals and organizations. Small firms all over the world furnish a strong increase to employment and economic growth specifically due to their innovative activities which becomes a main force of explaining competitive advantage and firm performance (Ussahawanitchakit, 2012). Accordingly, the values fashioned by innovative marketing strategy shows potential circumstances that uncovered new ways of doing things or new products and processes that add benefits to economic fortunes.
A firm’s performance is related to the ability of the firm to gain profit and growth in order to achieve its general strategic objectives (Neu & brown, 2005). It is a consequence of the interaction between actions taken in relation to competitive forces that allow the firm to adapt to the external environment, thereby integrating competence and usefulness In both developed and developing countries of the world, small companies have proofed to be prominent in terms of employment and added values to gross domestic product, ‘yet their full potential remains untapped’ Schlogl, (2004).
The support given for the start up of small firms, necessitate them to becoming important engines for innovation and technological advancement especially in the field of marketing. In 2007, The World business council for sustainable development gave a summary of the weight small firms in general lend to government and individuals. Small firms that are properly supervised become means of employment prospect and affluence creation. They aid in the generation of revenue and create communal solidity. Bigger organizations are provided with local services and supplies and communities have access to affordable goods and services at lower costs. Furthermore, ‘by working closely with small firms, large corporations can develop a new customer base that may not be accessible to the traditional distribution networks of these corporations’ (Menna, 2013).
Thus small firms are a reliable source of supply and have understanding of the pattern of procurement.
Small firms, world over have been found to provide jobs for about 75% of the workforce of any country. In periods of liberalization and privatization small firms especially in emerging economics, has become vital economic tools and bedding seeds for entrepreneurship development and indigenous technology that create employment and are better positioned over bigger firms in their capacity to be innovative. However there are barriers to the activities of innovative marketing strategy in small firms which according to Menna (2013) include a lack in capital investment, infrastructure, education and training systems, encumber regulations, and in general deficiencies in know-how and skills acquisition. Other barriers include constrained managerial capabilities, difficulty in utilizing technology which results in low productivity among others. Consequently, investing in innovative marketing strategy strengthens the profit base, knowledge of employees and individuals that drive resilience of the organizations to create new products, processes, and new behaviour of working that generates improve competitiveness and achievement of necessary goals to shape performance.
Existing literature has described innovative marketing strategy differently. For example Aremu (2010) affirmed there are three types of innovative marketing strategy, product, process and strategy or business model innovation. Hussien (2010) explains innovative marketing strategy to include five types: new products, new methods of production, new sources of supply, the exploitation of new markets, and new ways to organize business. For Allocca & Kessler (2006), innovative marketing strategy will only be effective when there is a process of equipping in new, improved capabilities or increased utility. The present study seeks to examine the effect of innovative marketing strategy on small firm’s performance.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
It is understood that innovative marketing strategy has become a key driver for better competitiveness of firms. Some studies have found that innovative marketing strategy is closely associated with firm performance (Rosli et al., 2012; Mukhamad et al., 2011; Pla-Barber & Alegre, 2007; Gunday et al., 2011; Gary et al., 2008; Nada et al., 2008; Morgado et al., 2008; Gunnar et al., 2009). Others suggested that the effect of process involved in innovative marketing strategy to have produced different results for firm performance (Geroski & Machin, 1993). Mark (2004) further argued that innovative marketing strategy did not explain performance, whereas others discovered that the process improvement did influence sales growth of small firms (Wolff & Pett, 2006).
However, this study is conducted on the innovative marketing strategy of small firms to find out if innovative activities in the marketing strategy have impact on firm performance. This study attempts to gauge how strong that innovative marketing strategy affects the performance of small firms, with special reference to the mediating effect of organizational productivity and effectiveness.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The general objective of this study is to analyze the impact of innovative marketing strategy on small firm’s performance in Niger State while the following are the specific objectives:
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
HO: Innovative marketing strategy does not enhance small firm’s performance
HA: Innovative marketing strategy does enhance small firm’s performance
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study on the impact of innovative marketing strategy on small firm’s performance in Niger State will educate stakeholders in business sector especially the marketers and the management team on the benefits of innovative marketing strategy emphasizing how it can enhance the customer base of an organization leading to improved firm’s performance. The study may also contribute to the existing body of knowledge on the impact of innovative marketing strategy on small firm’s performance. The study will be a good reference material to students who may wish to use this study as a springboard to undertake their own research.
1.7 SCOPE/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This study on the impact of innovative marketing strategy on small firm’s performance in Niger State will cover all the small firms in Niger State by examine how innovative marketing strategy has improved their performance. This study will also cover different types of innovative marketing strategy and other factors limiting small firm performance in Niger state.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Performance: The accomplishment of a given task measured against preset known standards of accuracy, completeness, cost, and speed. In a contract, performance is deemed to be the fulfillment of an obligation, in a manner that releases the performer from all liabilities under the contract.
Strategy: A method or plan chosen to bring about a desired future, such as achievement of a goal or solution to a problem.
Innovation: The process of translating an idea or invention into a good or service that creates value or for which customers will pay.
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