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Entrepreneurial approaches to
Marketing: driving business
growth, ensuring sustainability
Dr Rosalind Jones, MBA, PhD,
PGCertHE, Chartered Marketer MCIM.
Lecturer in Marketing
Bangor Business School
[email protected]
My background
‘Chartered Marketer’ Ambassador of Small
Businesses- CIM North Wales Region
 Co-Chair of the Entrepreneurial and Small
Business Marketing Special Interest Group,
Academy of Marketing
 Strategic marketing experiencepublic/private/voluntary sectors
 Marketer/consultancy in SME firms
 Research in industries such as technology,
Why is SME Research Important?
Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises
(SMEs) are socially and economically important,
they represent 99 % of an estimated 23 million
enterprises in the EU
 They provide around 75 million jobs
representing two-thirds of all employment.
 SMEs contribute up to 80% of employment in
some industrial sectors, such as textiles,
construction or furniture.
 Important for the NW Wales Region- socially &
economically deprived
SME growth and Entrepreneurial
This presentation presents ideas for growth strategies
for Small Businesses based on current research and, key
concepts and theories
 The focus of this presentation is on small businesses
 Using Entrepreneurial Marketing (EM) approaches
 As such we challenge traditional notions of marketing &
management theory and practice.
The presentation reports on the issues for small
business; and addresses some of the issues facing
business owners, managers and marketers in
contemporary business environments.
Small Business Constraints
Lack of time to manage Lack of business resources- finance,
employees, marketing experience
 Difficulty in predicting future market
changes-market research costs-marketing
& business planning- especially in
fragmented/highly competitive markets
 Limited geographic scope in large markets
because of size
The Entrepreneurial Marketing
perspectiveGlobal research in different sectors and
 Globalization, developing regions, new
economies, sustainability through
economic crises, e-business.
 We have learnt from what successful
growth focussed firms do- i.e.
differentiation of products/services, niche
markets, blue ocean strategies
Cows, after you’ve seen them for a while, are
boring. They may be perfect cows, attractive cows,
cows with great personalities, cows lit by beautiful
light, but they’re still boring.
A Purple Cow, though. Now that would be
interesting. – Seth Godin, 2002
Gardner (1994, p. 37) :
‘‘the interface of entrepreneurial behaviour and marketing is that where
innovation is brought to market. Marketing’s role in innovation, then, is
to provide the concepts, tools, and infrastructure to close the gap
between innovation and market positioning to achieve sustainable
competitive advantage.’’
Traditional MarketingPerception of Marketing- the 4 Ps of
Marketing- produce, price, promotion,
 Successful marketing in SMEs is different!
 Common perception of marketingadvertising and promotion- fliers,
newspaper advertising, exhibitions etc.
 Here- we cover key salient points for SME
Entrepreneurial & SME Marketing
Relationship Marketing
Getting close to your customer/markets
Leading customers- co-creation- incremental/
radical innovations
Networks- business, innovation, marketing,
industry, personal contact networks (PCNs)
Opportunity seeking- new markets, extended
product/service lines, shared opportunities,
partnering, alliances
Reputation effects- branding for small business
Cost-effective Marketing
Most new ventures and small firms have
limited budgets for marketing (finding new
 Interesting approaches for cheap,
aggressive marketing techniques
(Schindehutte et al., 2009- examples of
guerrilla marketing etc.)
 Most small businesses are highly customer
oriented particularly if the market offering
is service based.
Relationship Marketing
Can be a positive benefit- long term relationships bring stable,
regular income, repeat custom and word-of-mouth (e-marketingword-of mouse!)
Also-it is cheaper to retain current customers than find new ones
Use of websites and Customer Relationship Management (often
under used)- customer feedback provides very useful market
research (!), regular customer contacts for new promotions etc
However too much focus CAN be a risk if not carefully managed
(costs your firm money, can inhibit creativity and innovation)
Power of the customer- example- retention of long terms contracts/
renewing/ public sector and the small business
Service Dominant Logic (SDL) Vargo and Lusch, (2004) consider the
effect of other stakeholders and customers on the consumer
experience i.e. destination marketing-hotels.
Market emersion
Advantage of SMEs- do not have to be artificially
close to your customer as with large firms
Large firms now emulating what small firms doi.e. same contact person on the phone etc.
Can respond swiftly to customer preferences
(unlike large firms)
Local, technical knowledge developed over timeretention of tacit knowledge in your company
Local ‘embeddedness’ in industry networks
Leading customers
US and Scandinavian research (large scale).
Found that those high growth firms ‘lead’
 Examples- co-creation- development of bespoke
products for business customers- resell to other
similar businesses- the customer an advocate,
agent or re-seller
 Adaptations to current products/services- retains
customers, extends product portfolio, reaches
new markets and new customers (i.e. same
product new market, same market new product)
 Replication- can you easily replicate your
product or service for other new customers to
reduce development costs?
Resource leveraging- valuable to small
businesses and new ventures- networks- found
to increase business, innovation, marketing in
small firms.
Personal contact networks (PCNs)
Example- a qualitative study of 45 entrepreneurs
in Ireland & Australia-industries: engineering,
textiles & food.
Networks with competitors & customers
(Gilmore, Carson & Grant, 2001)- Marketing
Intelligence & Planning 19, 1, 6-11.
Networks-Gilmore et al., 2001
Managerial implications:
Marketing by networks improved by, learning by
Social networks rely on entrepreneur’s intuition
Later, more strategic business networks rely on rigorous,
structured, experiential knowledge
Therefore: networking can be harnessed into a proactive
marketing infrastructure &
Network competence can be learned, refined &
developed by experience
Opportunity seekingShared opportunities, partnering, alliances
 Opportunities- new markets/customers; new
and/or extended product/service lines
 Industry networks-business partnerships,
alliances, i.e. partnering with a larger well
known company- provides a well known
established ‘brand’ and opportunities for costsharing, knowledge sharing and co-branding of
products/services. An indicator to customers that
the SME is an established market player=
Reputation- branding for SMEs
Branding may be less or more important depending on
product/ service/ sector
 Formal branding is prohibitively expensive
 Awareness of branding messages, colours, strap-lines
etc on all business & marketing material and web-sites
 The owner-manager is often the representative of the
culture and ethos of the company – as with famous
CEOs i.e. Richard Branson who is indistinguishable from
the Virgin brand and what this means.
 Reputation for delivering ‘customer value’ -often quality
and reliability and the notion of ‘trust’ is key
Question & Answer Session