Processes of strategic marketing planning : a longitudinal study of Scottish small and medium sized firms
The rationale for this study was the apparent difference between the marketing planning practices of Scottish SME's and the marketing planning practices recommended by management theory. The direction of this study was adaptedf rom two broad objectives: (i) To assess if , how, and why Scottish small and medium sized businesses go about strategic marketing planning; and (ii) To ascertain whether business performance is affected by participation in the marketing planning process. To address the research issues raised regarding marketing planning practice and its link with business performance, a conceptual framework that incorporated elements of the traditional strategic marketing planning process model suggested by the literature and also allowed for the marketing characteristics of SME's was developed. The research design involved a longitudinal survey of 626 Scottish SME's in 1990 and 183 of the same businesses in 1996. This study found that the incidence of marketing planning was significantly linked to business size supporting a number of authors who identify that business size has a direct influence on the nature of marketing and marketing planning practice. The research highlighted differences in the incidence of marketing planning across the three SME size categories. In assessing the planning-performance relationship 4 categories of SME's were defined according to their planning behaviour 1990-1996. These categories were Planners; Non-Planners; Embracers; and Disavowed. Analysis of these groups showed a significant positive relationship between planning and performance providing empirical support to case that marketing planning improves business performance.