While marketing analytics plays an important role in generating insights from big data to improve marketing decision-making and firm competitiveness, few academic studies have investigated the mechanisms through which it can be used to achieve sustained competitive advantage. To close this gap, this study draws on the dynamic capability view to posit that a firm can attain sustained competitive advantage from its sensing, seizing and reconfiguring capabilities, which are manifested by the use of marketing analytics, marketing decision-making, and product development management. This study also examines the impact of the antecedents of marketing analytics use on marketing related processes. The analysis of a survey of 221 UK firm managers demonstrates: (a) the positive impact of marketing analytics use on both marketing decision-making and product development management; (b) the effect of the latter two on sustained competitive advantage; (c) the indirect effect of data availability on both marketing decision-making and production development management; and (d) the indirect effect of managerial support on marketing decision-making. The research model proposed in this study provides insights into how marketing analytics can be used to achieve sustained competitive advantage.
Marketing analytics, which is a domain of business analytics (Holsapple, Lee-Post, & Pakath, 2014), refers to the collection, management, and analysis of data to extract useful insights to support marketing decision-making (Germann, Lilien, & Rangaswamy, 2013; Hanssens & Pauwels, 2016; Wedel & Kannan, 2016). While recent research indicates that the use of marketing analytics could have the potential to improve firm competitiveness and/or performance (e.g., CMO-Survey, 2016; Germann et al., 2013; Hanssens & Pauwels, 2016; Xu, Frankwick, & Ramirez, 2016), such a potential is still largely untapped, unexplored (Ariker, Diaz, Moorman, & Westover, 2015; McKinsey, 2016; Wedel & Kannan, 2016), and has yet to be substantiated (Germann et al., 2013). While the various conditions needed for using business analytics have not been sufficiently studied (Chen, Preston, & Swink, 2015; Trieu, 2017), it is not clear how business analytics could be used in order to improve decision-making and firm competitiveness and/or performance (Chen et al., 2015; Germann et al., 2013; Wedel & Kannan, 2016). Thus, more research with “deeper analysis” is needed (Sharma, Mithas, & Kankanhalli, 2014). In order to advance our understanding of marketing analytics, this study seeks to answer two research questions. First and foremost, what are the mechanisms through which marketing analytics can be used to achieve firm competitiveness? Recent studies seem to have focused on the direct impact of marketing analytics use on firm competitiveness and/or performance (e.g., Germann et al., 2013; Xu et al., 2016) but paid little attention to explaining the mechanisms through which marketing analytics can be used to improve firm competitiveness (Wedel & Kannan, 2016). Several streams of research suggest that the link between the use of business analytics to firm competitiveness is rather complex (e.g., Tan, Guo, Cahalane, & Cheng, 2016). Conceptual research suggests that business analytics will first influence firm decision-making, which will in turn affect firm competitiveness and/or performance (Seddon, Constantinidis, Tamm, & Dod, 2017; Sharma et al., 2014). IT studies argue that the first order impacts of IT investment should be measured at managerial and operational processes (Barua, Kriebel, & Mukhopadhyay, 1995; Radhakrishnan, Zu, & Grover, 2008; Tallon, Kraemer, & Gurbaxani, 2000). Yet, to the best knowledge of the authors, no research has conceptualized, let alone empirically demonstrated, the mechanisms through which the use of marketing analytics can be linked to marketing related processes or capabilities and sustained competitive advantage.