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Unpublished Paper
‘Innovative marketing in SMEs: the key capabilities of e-CRM
currently under review (2011)
  • Paul Harrigan, University of Southampton
  • Elaine Ramsey, University of Ulster
  • Patrick Ibbotson, University of Ulster


Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are vital components of our economies, but many struggle to perform the marketing prescribed theoretically for large organizations. This paper presents research evidence to help us understand the impact of IBTs on the CRM activities (i.e. e-CRM) of SMEs on the island of Ireland. To do so, the study adopts a focus on the role of e-CRM in facilitating the customer information management capability of SMEs.


A quantitative approach (online survey questionnaire) was adopted and distributed to 1445 SMEs. 286 usable responses were received. Exploratory factor analysis uncovered eight distinct yet inter-related factors underpinning the practices and processes of e-CRM in SMEs.


To varying extents, SMEs are adopting relatively simple IBTs to improve their customer information management capability and thus to create competitive advantage through e-CRM in their own strategic way.

Research Implications

It is concluded that SMEs are ?doing? e-CRM, through using IBTs to manage their customer relationships. The role of e-CRM in managing customer information, while facilitative, tends to remain rather primitive, where there is a real struggle to integrate it with existing relationship management processes.

Practical Implications

SMEs need to use relatively simple tools such as websites, e-mail and databases to build on their closeness to customers and to develop an insight into customers that has the potential to form the basis of business decision-making.


This study, by reporting on technological innovation in marketing (e-CRM) sheds valuable light on an important theoretical and practical area.

  • E-CRM,
  • Marketing,
  • Internet,
  • Information management,
  • SME
Publication Date
Citation Information
Paul Harrigan, Elaine Ramsey and Patrick Ibbotson. "‘Innovative marketing in SMEs: the key capabilities of e-CRM" currently under review (2011)
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