Linking SMEs Profitability to Brand Orientation and Market-Sensing Capability: A Service Sector Evidence
The key question among policy makers and marketing scholars alike is 'how can SMEs become more financially viable?' bearing in mind that we now live in a highly globalized society that is driven by technological, social and economic forces. Consequently, for SMEs to become more financially viable in the changing business landscape, it becomes more imperative now than ever before for this set of enterprises to develop some core business orientations and/or capabilities, particularly that of brand orientation and market-sensing capability. Against this backdrop, the current article examines the role of brand orientation and market-sensing capability in relation to the profitability of SMEs in the context of a financial intermediation sector. Based on the findings from 119 surveyed financial services SMEs in one of Africa’s largest economies, we have empirical support that both brand orientation and market-sensing capability contribute significantly to SMEs profitability. Our results demonstrate the need for SMEs in the African financial intermediation sector to develop an 'in-house' branding culture that takes into cognizance 'local' market conditions, and more particularly employee involvement. More so, SMEs should endeavour to develop market-sensing capability given that this unique capability is key to unlocking both present and future marketing opportunities.