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Exploring Marketing and Relationship Software SMEs: A Mixed Methods Approach


  • Sara Parry

    (Bangor University)

  • Beata Kupiec-Teahan

    (Scottish Agricultural College)


Purpose The aim of this article is to develop an understanding of marketing and customer relationships in software SMEs using a mixed methods approach.Design/Methodology/Approach The methodology combined qualitative research methods along with quantitative Adaptive Conjoint Analysis (ACA). Qualitative methods included two case studies of SMEs in the software industry which was supported by participant observation of both SMEs. In order to ascertain detailed customer perceptions and expectations of their software supplier, 17 semi-structured interviews were conducted with the software firm’s customers. The interview subsequently informed the Adaptive Conjoint Analysis (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 dependent on effective relationships between the SME 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.Originality/Value This combination of methods has made it possible to explore marketing practices within software SMEs alongside exploring the centrality of customer relationships. Therefore the findings contribute to the knowledge of marketing in software SMEs and customers’ decision-making processes when purchasing software. 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. This pragmatic approach has provided applicable results due to insight into management cases complemented with industry expectation of software product and service delivery.

Suggested Citation

  • Sara Parry & Beata Kupiec-Teahan, 2010. "Exploring Marketing and Relationship Software SMEs: A Mixed Methods Approach," Working Papers 10015, Bangor Business School, Prifysgol Bangor University (Cymru / Wales).
  • Handle: RePEc:bng:wpaper:10015

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