The Impact of Marketing Capabilities on Digital Transformation for Small Firms in A Crisis Environment

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Utilising the lens of dynamic capabilities, this paper adopts a case study approach to help understand how small firms reconfigure existing marketing capabilities with the use of digital technology to achieve organisational transformation digitally within a crisis environment. Qualitative methods employed included triangulation of data sources (interviews and analyses of social media and websites), involving seven small firms on the island of Ireland, over a period of twelve months, from 2020 to date. The preliminary insights gained from the research indicate an unprecedented digital shift evident within these businesses during a crisis situation. The results show that marketing capabilities may have a direct impact on the extent to which digital transformation occurs. Many companies have experienced a degree of shifting to or extending the business online during the COVID-19 pandemic. But from surviving to thriving, in spite of continued uncertainty in the marketplace, the results suggest that small firm owner-managers need to think strategically how to realign existing marketing skills and knowledge and resources into a strategic plan for digital success. This paper adds to the literature on the impact of marketing capabilities on digital transformation within the context of small firms. The study has highlighted that ‘sensing’ capability enabled by market information is the first driver for organisational change digitally. The findings support that small firms rely on word-of-mouth marketing while ‘seizing’ opportunities.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 30 Apr 2021
EventIrish Academy of Management Annual Conference 2021 - Waterford Institute of Technology (Virtual), Waterford, Ireland
Duration: 25 Aug 202126 Aug 2021


ConferenceIrish Academy of Management Annual Conference 2021
Abbreviated titleIAM 2021
Internet address


  • Dynamic Capabilities
  • Marketing Capabilities
  • Resource-Based View
  • Digital Transformation
  • Small Business Marketing


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