Abstract: Despite criticism that the marketing discipline has a diminished role and influence within academia and
business, there is general agreement that strategic marketing practice could contribute to company performance.
The focus of this article is on how South African companies implement key strategic marketing concepts in order
to establish a pattern of organisational behaviour around strategic marketing practice. The perceived contribution
of these practices on company performance is also established. The South African perspective provides new
insight into the practice and compliance of marketers within the context of developing countries. Insight of 167
South African marketing executives, obtained by means of a quantitative survey, suggests that although most
firms performed strategic marketing activities, they were less confident that they established a competitive
advantage or customer insight from doing so. The relative importance of customer insight was demonstrated by
the fact that it had a significant correlation with financial performance, whereas segment-based marketing
activities did not. Merely ‘ticking the boxes’ and performing strategic marketing activities for the sake of it is thus
not enough to improve financial performance.