An analysis of the presence and effectiveness of entrepreneurial marketing in SMEs operating within the premium alcoholic drinks industry

Wilson, Juliette and Martin, Alexander; (2014) An analysis of the presence and effectiveness of entrepreneurial marketing in SMEs operating within the premium alcoholic drinks industry. In: Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship. UNSPECIFIED, GBR.

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This paper examines the presence and effectiveness of Entrepreneurial Marketing (EM) in SMEs operating in the premium alcoholic drinks industry. Recent years have seen significant numbers of SMEs emerge within the premium alcoholic drinks market. This paper examines the extent to which they utilise EM strategies, evaluating the effect such strategies have on firm performance and assessing the influence the owner/entrepreneur of these firms has on the development and execution of EM strategies. This research responds to calls within the literature for a wider examination of industries in which EM is being utilised (Collinson & Shaw, 2001; Morris et al., 2002; Kraus et al., 2006; Morrish & Deacon, 2011; Thomas et al., 2013). There is now a growing acceptance that although SMEs may not utilise traditional marketing theories and practices, marketing is integral to their survival. These firms are constrained by a number of factors, but principally they are limited by a lack of resources, consequently, SMEs actively pursue non-conventional approaches to marketing (Gilmore et al., 2001; Jones & Rowley, 2011). A qualitative research process was undertaken with individual in-depth interviews with owner/entrepreneurs of five SMEs. The findings detail five core strategies used by sampled firms to enhance performance outcomes building on the Morris et al. (2002) framework, namely: Proactive Opportunity Creation; Resource Leveraging; Legitimacy; Customer Intensity and Innovative Value Creation. These strategic EM competencies were found to have a considerable effect on SME firm performance, increasing organisational ability to differentiate, counteract resource constraints, build brand awareness or overcome initial market challenges. The study also highlighted the important role of the owner/entrepreneur in the development and execution of effective EM strategy. The principal practical implication, which emerges from this exploratory research is the identification of five emergent EM strategies. These strategies were critical in enhancing performance outcomes of these SMEs leading to increased differentiation, increased market acceptance, increased brand awareness and heightened levels of credibility. Such outcomes are imperative in counteracting the resource constraints faced by SMEs in this industry. This research also recommends the development of community based groups to protect the interests of SMEs operating within MNE dominated industries, enabling them to better counteract the resource constraints which limit them. This exploratory study contributes to the EM theory in two fundamental ways. Firstly, by identifying five core strategies, which enhance performance outcomes within SMEs in the premium alcoholic drinks industry. Additionally, this work provides newly established firms with significant insight into the use of EM strategy and the effect which it can have on SME firm performance. By utilising these competencies simultaneously new firms can achieve enhance performance outcomes within a market in constant flux.