IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Exploring marketing and relationships in software SMEs: A mixed methods approach


  • Sara Parry
  • Beata Kupiec-Teahan
  • Jennifer Rowley


Purpose - The aim of this article is to develop an understanding of marketing and customer relationships in software SMEs (small to medium-sized enterprises) using a mixed methods approach. Design/methodology/approach - The methodology combined qualitative research methods along with quantitative adaptive conjoint analysis (ACA). A software SME was investigated as a case study during the first stage of the investigation. In order to ascertain detailed customer perceptions and expectations of their software supplier, 16 semi-structured interviews were conducted with the software SME's customers. The interviews subsequently informed the ACA, which was chosen as an analytical tool to establish quantitative hierarchy of relevant attributes identified at the qualitative stage of the study. Findings - Marketing in software SMEs is dependant on effective relationships between the firm and its customers and these relationships should be based on providing a quality software solution, understanding the customer requirement and professionalism. Other marketing tactics that are used to improve customer perceived credibility include forming alliances and partnerships within the technology sector. Practical implications - Software SMEs should proactively develop relationships with prospective as well as current customers and strive for a balance between customer orientation and innovation by involving the customer throughout the development of the software solution. The study's pragmatic approach has provided applicable results due to insight into a management case complemented with industry expectation of software product and service delivery. Originality/value - This combination of methods has made it possible to explore marketing and customer relationships in the software industry from multiple viewpoints. Therefore, the findings contribute to the limited literature of marketing in software SMEs and customers' decision-making processes when purchasing software.

Suggested Citation

  • Sara Parry & Beata Kupiec-Teahan & Jennifer Rowley, 2011. "Exploring marketing and relationships in software SMEs: A mixed methods approach," Management Research Review, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 35(1), pages 52-68, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:mrrpps:v:35:y:2011:i:1:p:52-68

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eme:mrrpps:v:35:y:2011:i:1:p:52-68. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no bibliographic references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Louise Lister (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.