Export Marketing Resources and Their Performance Implications: A Framework and Empirical Analysis
Why some firms perform better than others is a central question in business research. Since the mid 1980s, the dominant paradigm relating to this issue is the resource-based view of the firm (RBV). The RBV is based on the premise that firms are bundles of heterogeneous, imperfectly mobile resources, and that advantage-generating resources, rather than market and industry structures, are the most critical determinants of firm success. Originating in the field of strategic management, the RBV has become a major focus of marketing scholars, and a new direction of marketing literature has recently emerged, drawing on marketing resources.
Although the RBV has received considerable attention in the marketing literature, the growing theoretical and conceptual works on marketing resources are not mirrored in empirical investigation. More specifically, while significant contributions, such as those from Srivastava et al.'s (2001) relational and intellectual market-based assets framework, have been made to the theoretical side of the RBV and marketing, little has been done, so far, with respect to its empirical side. Moreover, the majority of the theoretical and empirical insights on the antecedents of export performance are based on the structure-conduct-performance (SCP) paradigm or atheoretical models. Little attention has been given to the process of building competitive advantage and the meaningful idiosyncratic combinations of export market resources that can be used efficiently and effectively by firms competing in export markets.
To fill these voids in the literature, this study aims to investigate the sources of competitive advantage and superior export performance by focusing on export market-based assets and capabilities. An integrated framework of export marketing resources and their performance implications is empirically tested with data collected from 320 manufacturing export firms in Thailand. Structural equation modeling (SEM) is used to examine the interrelationships among the theoretical constructs.
The findings of the study provide groundwork for the understanding of the resource building blocks in the export firms and the internal process through which export marketing resources influence firm performance in the export markets. Tangible export market-based assets indirectly contribute to export performance through export market-based capabilities and export competitive advantage. The effects of relational and intellectual export market-based assets on export performance are mediated by export market-based capabilities and export competitive advantage, whereas the effects of export market-based capabilities on export performance are mediated by export competitive advantage.
This study demonstrates and explains the richness of the RBV as the basis for assessing the ability of the firms to exploit export marketing resources as a means to enhance their performance. Hence, the study expands the growing body of literature on export marketing and export performance research by adopting a fresh theoretical perspective of the resource-based strategy. The theoretical framework and its empirical validation underpinning the study could provide a new explanation as to why some export firms are more successful than others.