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Abstract

SMEs, that represent the greater part of European food firms producing traditional food products (TFPs), meet difficulties in adapting their strategies to market changes, and in competing with big enterprises. Marketing management capabilities play a key role in good SMEs performance in the market. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the marketing capabilities of SMEs that produce TFPs. The theoretical framework considers the Market Orientation approach and marketing management capabilities in terms of marketing research, marketing strategy, planning and implementation, control and evaluation. A self evaluation tool was developed by means of an interactive questionnaire, available on the web, aimed at assessing traditional food firms competitive position in the marketing area. The sample consists of 112 Italian firms. Descriptive analysis shows that the most problematic dimensions of the marketing management are planning and implementation and control and evaluation. Moreover, the firms’ size is not a relevant feature to determine the marketing capabilities, whereas quality voluntary certifications have a direct linkage with marketing capabilities, as the more a firm is certified the more t improves its marketing performance. Linear Regression model confirms these results.

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