Journal : Marketing Intelligence & Planning , vol. 28 , p. 736–753–18 , 2010
Publisher : Emerald Group Publishing Limited
International Standard Numbers
Printed : 0263-4503
Electronic : 1758-8049
Publication type : Academic article
Issue : 6
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Purpose - The limited academic literature available on niche marketing has mainly focused on market-specific factors, and the discussion has in particular centred on the characteristics of what a niche is and what causes it to exist. In an attempt to fill this gap in the literature, the purpose of this paper is to identify the strategic capabilities of niche firms. Design/methodology/approach - In this paper, aspects regarding niche marketing and strategic capability are identified and briefly discussed with reference to the existing literature. Next, the methodology for the research at hand is presented, followed by a discussion of its findings. The paper then continues with the conclusion of this research, followed by pinpointing some of its limitations and providing recommendations for future research. Findings - All the investigated case firms follow a focused differentiation strategy to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage. The focus aspect of the niche firms' strategy is mirrored in the reported narrow geographic market focus, which could be limited to only one country, a limited number of customers - one sole customer in one case - or a limited number of customer types. With regard to strategic capabilities, the results were rather similar across cases, particularly for each pair of case firms within similar sectors (wine, organic salmon, and stockfish). From the case firms' point of view, it is clear that having access to high-quality raw material is critical to their strategy of delivering high-quality products. Finally, many of the identified resources and competences appear rather static, or fixed over several years. Originality/value - The strategic capabilities as identified in this paper can be described and placed at different stages within the firms' value chains. Each stage has its own set of important strategic capabilities. These stages are: inbound logistics, production or refinement, and marketing and sales.