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In many firms, the marketing department plays a minor role in new product development (NPD). However, recent research demonstrates that marketing capabilities more strongly influence firm performance than other areas such as research and development. This finding underscores the importance of identifying relevant capabilities that can improve the position of marketing within the NPD process as part of the quest to improve innovation performance. However, thus far, it has remained unclear precisely how the marketing department can increase its influence on NPD to enhance a firm's innovation performance. The results of this study demonstrate that the relationship between marketing capabilities and innovation performance is generally mediated by the decision influence of marketing on NPD. In particular, both marketing research quality and the ability to translate customer needs into product characteristics serve to increase marketing's influence on NPD. This increased influence, in turn, positively contributes to overall firm innovation performance. Hence, these results show that in addition to having the appropriate marketing capabilities, the marketing department must achieve a status in which these capabilities can translate into performance implications.