COMMUNICATIONS, CULTURAL TRENDS, AND COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE IN BTOB MARKETS. A SURVEY ON SMES IN THE PROVINCE OF AVELLINO

Alfonso Siano, Paolo Piciocchi, Agostino Vollero, Gianpaolo Basile

Abstract


In the current competitive scenario, most organizations base their sustainable competitive advantage on their firm-specific resources and skills. Due to their intrinsic strategic value, such intangible assets (culture, know how, brand equity, reputation, etc.) should necessarily be communicated to stakeholders in order to create a distinctive positioning. The investigation of critical factors within the process of implementation of a proper strategic communication planning is the main aim of this study (funded by Campania Region), carryed out about a sample of SMEs adhering to the Industrial Union of Avellino. Starting from a review of the literature on communication in industrial marketing, the taxonomy identifies different cultural trends, i.e. specific levels of awareness in engaging in communication activities. Consequently, a classification is presented to compare the cultural attitude to communication of industrial SMEs. Each level of communication orientation shows different skills in developing profitable relationships with relevant stakeholders. In addition to the assessment of the current state of communication in the Avellino Industrial Area, this survey verifies whether frequent marketing/corporate communication behaviour exists in this specific b-to-b context. The results of the study conducted on the province of Avellino show that there is a trend in terms of communication in industrial firms of a sales support or sometime activity kind rather than the application of a “communication culture”. This study represents the first investigation on communication approaches of b-to-b SMEs in the Province of Avellino. Furthemore, the study gives interesting insight into the effects of a lack of formal communication policies and practices. On the contrary, from a practical standpoint, it emerges that a proper communication culture/orientation could allow firms consolidate over time their corporate identity, and therefore, their competitive advantage.
KEY WORDS communication culture/orientation | industrial SMEs competitiveness |b-to-b markets.

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ISSN: 1971-5293

Esperienze d'Impresa, Reg. Tribunale Salerno n.875 del 3/11/1993