The Digital Marketing Capabilities Gap

Dennis Herhausen*, Dario Miočev, Robert E. Morgan, Mirella H.P. Kleijnen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Over the past two decades, digitalization has revolutionized not only consumer marketing but also industrial marketing. Both industrial marketing scholars and industrial marketers seek insights to understand how our knowledge and practice of digital marketing has been structured and configured. To address this gap, we adopt the resource-based perspective as an organizing framework and systematically review 129 articles spanning two decades of research to identify different digital marketing capabilities in industrial firms. From this analysis, we identify four themes: channels, social media, digital relationships, and digital technologies. We then stress-test this knowledge with managerial practices by conducting an online survey of 169 managers, designed to establish the repertoire of current and future marketing capability needs of industrial firms. Herein, we identify two marketing capabilities gaps: the practice gap—which identifies the deficit between managers' ‘current’ practices and their ‘ideal’ digital marketing capabilities; and, the knowledge gap—which demonstrates a significant divide between the digital marketing transformations in industrial firms and the extant scholarly knowledge that underpins this. Based on these results, we build an agenda for future research on digital marketing capabilities.
Original languageEnglish
JournalIndustrial Marketing Management
Pages (from-to)276-290
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • Digital marketing
  • Resource-based theory
  • Digital capabilities
  • Digital resources
  • Future research agenda

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