The aim of this paper is to analyse marketing capabilities, through the dynamic capabilities framework, in order to increase understanding of how gradual global SMEs operating in traditional sectors can improve their export performance. The work is based on the exploratory, descriptive, qualitative method of a case study. An Italian SME has been selected on the basis of its export performance and marketing activities. The study has been conducted through secondary data analysis and a semi-structured in-depth interview with the CEO, with the aim of highlighting the relevance of emerging dynamic marketing capabilities connected with international performance. The results show that a SME, which lacks resources for international expansion, can improve its export performance by adapting, integrating, building, and reconfiguring its existing internal and external marketing capabilities for international markets. The principal limitation of this work is that, by analysing a company belonging to the alcoholic beverage sector, where price decisions are often left to importers, it was not possible to analyse dynamic pricing capabilities. This paper offers a contribution to the discussion of the internationalization of gradual global SMEs from the perspective of marketing and dynamic capabilities, missing from the literature, which is mainly focused on the study of multinational and born global enterprises.
Keywords: competitive advantage, dynamic capabilities, export performance, marketing capabilities, SMEs