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Building on the frameworks of the resource-based view and value relevance, this study contributes to how the firms' marketing capabilities affect firm performance. More specifically, this research examines growth as a potential mechanism to explain how marketing capabilities impact stock returns. This study estimates empirical models using a merged data set comprising firms' marketing and financial information. Results indicate that asset growth mediates the relationship between marketing capability and abnormal stock returns. Marketing capabilities in general and marketing capabilities of retail firms specifically show direct significant effects on abnormal stock returns. This study contributes to resource-based view theory in marketing by demonstrating that it is not only the intangible characteristic of marketing capabilities, but also the growth potential that marketing capabilities exhibit that help explain higher stock returns. This study points to the need to account for mechanisms and mediating variables when building theoretical frameworks of the impact of marketing capabilities on firm performance.
6. Discussion and conclusion
This research investigates how marketing capabilities affect longterm financial performance. Asset growth mediates the relationship between marketing capabilities and stock returns. Asset growth also mediates the relationship between marketing capabilities of non-retail firms and stock returns. Importantly, marketing capabilities in general and marketing capabilities of retail firms in particular have a direct impact on stock returns.
6.1. Implications for managers and retail organizations
The results have several implications for practitioners. Our study finds support for the hypothesis that marketing capability has a positive relationship with stock returns through the mediation of firm growth. In particular, we find that asset growth is a significant mediator. We also find that marketing capability has a direct impact on stock returns. Our findings therefore suggest that marketing capabilities affect fi- nancial performance in the long run. This study demonstrates that marketing capabilities provide information on asset growth which in turn affects stock returns. These critical findings may help firms address the challenge of attracting and retaining investors (Opinion Research Corporation, 2008). If firms concentrate their marketing efforts on growing marketing capabilities and most importantly informing the market about this improvement and its significant relation with asset growth, the market will notice and thus motivate current investors to stay with the stock and future investors to purchase the stocks.
Marketing researchers and managers of organizations can employ the DEA bootstrap method to measure marketing capability. Although the basic DEA may generate biased estimations, DEA bootstrap overcomes this issue and can capture a process that is normally unobservable. Therefore, DEA allows for the measurement of deployments of different resources to serve customers better, helping open the black box of a particular capability. In other words, DEA methods indicate how well a firm is spending resources to achieve desired outcomes. DEA methods are also critical for benchmarking. Managers can compare the performance of their organizations with their competitors and find which organizations are doing better which may help them notice critical best practices.