Marketing Orientation and Export Performance in the New Zealand Manufacturing Industry
Much has been said and written about the marketing concept. In brief, the marketing concept stresses customer satisfaction as a means of attaining high performance. Past studies have shown that there has been a considerable interest in the marketing concept both in academic circles and in the business world. In spite of its popularity, little effort has been devoted to examining the validity of the marketing concept, i.e., to testing the proposition that the adoption and implementation of the marketing concept will lead to high performance, be it in domestic or export operations. Previous studies of the marketing concept were mainly focused on whether or not firms have adopted and implemented it. A handful of studies has examined the more fundamental question of the link between the marketing concept and corporate performance. However, for different reasons, the findings of these studies are limited. Given this background, the objective of this study was twofold: to develop and empirically test a model of marketing orientation and export performance that can be applied in many settings, and then to identify which aspects of marketing orientation correlate with export performance. The New Zealand manufacturing industry was selected as the empirical setting. A single industry was chosen so as to have a control over industrial differences. Specifically, the manufacturing industry was chosen because of its increased importance to the New Zealand economy as evidenced by the industry's contribution in areas such as export earnings, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employment. A model of marketing orientation and export performance was developed. It contained three major components: the measures of marketing orientation, of export performance, and the control variables. It was hypothesized that marketing orientation would be positively related to export performance. The data were collected through a mail survey of 356 manufacturing firms throughout New Zealand. The survey produced a net response rate of 47.6 percent. Scales were developed to measure each of the three components of the model. Cronbach alpha and factor analysis were used to test the internal consistency of the measures. The measures were also subjected to convergent, discriminant, nomological and predictive validity tests. The results showed that the measures employed in this research are both reliable and valid. Furthermore, a test for normality was administered on the dependent variable (export performance) and the results showed that the dependent variable is normally distributed. It is therefore suitable for parametric statistical analyses. Multiple regression techniques were employed to analyse the data The analysis was done at two main levels. At the first level the relationship between marketing orientation and export performance was explored without controlling the exogenous variables. At the second level, the same process was repeated but the exogenous variables were controlled. At both levels of analysis the results gave support to the hypothesis that there is a positive relationship between marketing orientation and export performance.