The College of Charleston in Charleston

Marketing Enterprise Interface:

Nearly a decade ago a group of scholars focused on research at the interface
between marketing
and entrepreneurship (MEI) met at The College of Charleston in Charleston,
South Carolina, USA.
The goal of this meeting was to respond to the growing demand for a unifying
framework for the
MEI in order to provide guidance for future research. As noted in Hansen and
Eggers’ (2010)
summary and report on the “Charleston Summit,” the demand for a framework
emerged from both
a survey of research priorities and informal requests by Ph.D. students and junior
faculty attending
the annual Global Research Symposium on Marketing and Entrepreneurship
(GRSME) and its
predecessor the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) Research Symposium on
Marketing and
Entrepreneurship (UIC Symposium). While the meeting spawned numerous
insights into the
history and future directions of research at the interface, no single model
emerged. Thus, the
summit, while providing good context and suggestions, failed to complete its
primary purpose.
In the years that have passed since that meeting, a single unifying framework
has yet to emerge.
The standard depiction of the interface remains as a Venn diagram of two
overlapping circles: one
representing entrepreneurship and the other marketing. This model, while
visually appealing, does
not provide any insight into potential research questions, thus is not helpful
as guidance for
scholars interested in the marketing and entrepreneurship interface. Therefore,
the purpose and
main contribution of this article is to finish the work started during the
Charleston Summit — to
provide a new framework to guide researchers, new and old, and provide a
model from which they
can develop new conceptualizations and empirical studies on aspects of
the marketing and
entrepreneurship interface.
Another contribution we provide is some clarification on the four
perspectives framework
introduced by Hansen and Eggers (2010). More specifically, we simplify this to
three: that which
is common between the two (first perspective), Small Business Marketing
(SBM) and
Entrepreneurial Marketing (EM) as “something unique” (fourth perspective), and
we merge the
second and third perspectives into a framework where each discipline provides
something, which
simplifies an aspect of the Hansen and Eggers conceptualization. The model is a
reconciliation of
numerous prior models of the MEI and EM, thus as Carson says “the future is in
the past” (Hansen
and Eggers, 2010).
A final contribution of this article is to specify that EM and SBM are unique
outcomes of the MEI.
Hansen and Eggers suggested that EM could be part of the first or fourth
perspective or even BE
the MEI entirely. Prior research has simply placed it within the MEI or as an
application of
marketing within entrepreneurship or entrepreneurship within marketing. Others
have used EM
and MEI interchangeably, suggesting that they are one in the same. We argue
that none of these
are the case. That in fact EM is part of what is the unique outcome of the
combination of marketing
and entrepreneurship, but does not represent the MEI in its entirety.
The remainder of the paper proceeds as follows. We will provide a brief history of
the MEI focused
on major milestones, and then more specifically discuss some updates since the
Hansen and Eggers
paper was published nearly a decade ago. We then present our framework for
the MEI. Finally we
offer suggestions for research based on the framework, while encouraging
scholars to examine the
multitude of possibilities from combining concepts, theories and/or phenomena
from the domains
of marketing and entrepreneurship.
Over the years, there has been ever increasing interest paid to developing an
understanding of how
entrepreneurship and marketing theory and practice relate. The MarketingEntrepreneurship
Interface (MEI) in terms of what is and is not has evolved from an area of
interest to a few
inquisitive scholars in 1980s to a legitimate area of inquiry resulting in multiple
conferences undertaken annually by scholars and practitioners alike dedicated to
and unpacking its principles. In Europe, the USA, and Oceana there are an
increasing number of
organizations and conferences in which entrepreneurship and marketing
research is presented and
discussed (e.g., AMA, AMS, ANZMAC, Babson, EMAC) focused on expanding
understanding regarding this important construct. This comes as no surprise as
entrepreneurs and
small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the catalyst for much economic
development and
social advancement across the globe. According to the US’ Small Business
Administration (SBA)
small companies accounted for 64% of new jobs created in the U.S. between
1993 and 2011.

Research regarding the MEI can trace its roots to the early 1980s. In 1982,
Gerald Hills with the
support of the American Marketing Association and the International Council for
Small Business
held the first marketing and research conference to address the
marketing/entrepreneurship overlap
that later became known as the MEI (see Table 1). It is during the 80s that the
first empirical study
regarding the MEI is presented (e.g., Hills and Star, 1985) and a research
symposium dedicated to
exploring the MEI established at the University of Illinois at Chicago. In the US
there has been
increased interest in defining the elements and boundaries of the MEI that have
evolved from
research presented at the conferences of the American Marketing
Association, Academy of
Marketing Science, Academy of Management, Babson College
Entrepreneurship Research
Conference, to name but a few. Likewise, in both Europe and Oceania, we have
seen keen interest
in exploring and understanding the MEI and its implications. The Australian and
New Zealand
Marketing Academy (ANZMAC) has held special sessions (e.g., 2010, 2013, 2016)
dedicated to
its elucidation. Likewise, in the U.S. special sessions have occurred
directed towards its
understanding (e.g., AMS 2011, 2015). Similarly, attention to the MEI has
garnered significant
attention from scholars and conferences associated with the European Academy
of Marketing.

Important research has evolved since the early 80s that serve to inform our
understanding of the
MEI (e.g., Bjerke and Hultman, 2002; Gardner, 1994; Hills and Hultman, 2006;
Hills 1994; Jones
and Rowley, 2009; Miles, Crispin and Kasouf, 2011; Morris, Schindehutte and La
Forge, 2002;
Osterwalder and Pigneur, 2010). The research shows that the MEI is more than
simply marketing
as practiced by entrepreneurs or the SME. Rather, it involves a different way of
marketing and
competing than what is taught in traditional marketing and business courses. It
offers a perspective
for competing in competitive environments that are characterized by change,
market uncertainty,
and risk. It involves leveraging customer relationships, co-creation,
innovation, leveraging
resources and networks, opportunity recognition and having a market and
orientation (Gilmore, 2011; Hills and Hultman, 2006; Jones and Rowley, 2009;
Miles et al., 2011;
Morris et al., 2002; Whalen et al., 2016). As such it is a unique phenomenon that
is growing in
importance to today’s hyper competitive marketplace. Some of the more
notable milestones in
MEI development are presented below (see Table 1).
In this section we provide a brief history of the MEI, presented as a table of key
milestones with a
short description of the conceptual impact of the intervention. To further assist
the chronology of
the interface, we have, included a ‘time frame’ descriptor to loosely describe
each stage of the
conceptual development of the interface from 1982 – through to 2017.
The first stage covers a period of inception (1982 – 1990), where scholars within
the fields of
Marketing and Entrepreneurship recognized commonalities between both
theories and practice. In
academe as in practice, it was also the era of challenge – challenge to normative
beliefs and theories
and arguably the birthplace of cross disciplinary collaborative research within our
Our second stage (1990 – 2005) acknowledges the broadening out of the EMI
concept with context
and content. Here we see the integration of a wider mix of theoretical concepts
that support the
‘overlap’ of Marketing and Entrepreneurship. During this time scholars from the
wider domain of
social sciences contributed to the interface with insight of both how and where
the interface took
place and who was involved and why.
Stage three (2006 – 2010) is a stage of reflection. We can observe scholars
becoming introspective
and reflective – by which we mean that the earlier developments are
further enhanced and
understood, scholars searched for depth of meaning (logic) and developed
fluid and informal
models (experimentation) that revealed the reality of practice at the interface.
Finally, the fourth stage (2010 – present) reflects the cumulative impact of
development. Commonalities and challenges have become divergence and
epistemologies. The MEI has assisted with our understanding of the
‘messiness’ that surrounds
both Marketing and Entrepreneurship thinking and behavior and in that way it is
divergent –
seeking new ways to explore and express the fluidity of both. However, it is also
convergent – as
challenge has become the catalyst of change.
Various frameworks have emerged over the past two and a half decades in an
attempt to elucidate
the MEI. What follows is a collection of frameworks of the interface that have
appeared in the
literature over the past several decades. Summarized below is how they provide
some context for
our proposed model, presented in Figure 1 below.
In one of the earliest models, Gardner (1994) approaches the MEI from a
behavioral perspective.
He describes market as ‘both the structure of the market and all the
elements of supply and
demand’ (p.42), and further discusses the dynamic and turbulent nature of the
market. A major
point of this model is its emphasis on the importance of information (as part
of opportunity
recognition), drawing from the work of Casson (1982) and that the MEI
represents ‘that area where
innovation is brought to market’ (p. 37). At the same time, Hills’ (1994)
model brings
entrepreneurship to traditional marketing. This is most profoundly demonstrated
in his discussion
of how the purpose of marketing (“to create and distribute values among market
parties through
the process of transactions and market relationships”, Hills, 1994, p5)
could serve also as a
definition of entrepreneurship. Many of the concepts he brings from
entrepreneurship to marketing
are incorporated into our model, such as creativity, opportunity recognition,
value creation and
risk taking, the last of which is a component of entrepreneurial orientation (EO).
Bjerke and Hultman (2002) present a conceptual framework that serves to
entrepreneurship and marketing into a model that is based upon four pillars that
clearly fit within
our framework: entrepreneurship; resources; processes; and actors. Their
model begins with
capabilities needed by the entrepreneur and entrepreneurial firm to create and
exploit opportunities
(Shane and Venkataraman, 2000). Further, they contend that the
entrepreneurial firm’s internal
and external value creation is always done in cooperation with external
partners (the
entrepreneurial ecosystem). As with Gardner, they include the importance
of leveraging
information, along with other resources.
Morris, Schindehutte, and LaForge (2002) proposed EM as a system that
integrates marketing and
entrepreneurship and reflects a perspective for proactively seeking novel ways
to create value for
customers and build customer equity. Their model shows an organization’s
external environment
is experiencing rapid change, becoming relatively hostile, and increasingly
more complex; in
essence, how turbulent the firm’s external environment is. This MEI model
brings in the firm
characteristics entrepreneurial orientation (EO) and market orientation (MO).
Hills and Hultman (2006) indicate their model of EM is part of the MEI when they
write that it is
useful to “regard entrepreneurial marketing as an interface between
marketing and
entrepreneurship” (p. 225). In this model, change is considered part of the
ecosystem in which
entrepreneurial marketers operate. This corresponds with Gardner’s
depiction of the market as
dynamic and turbulent. They also build on Penrose (1959) in discussing internal
Jones and Rowley’s (2009) EMICO framework combines the familiar EO and MO
with innovation
Orientation (IO) and customer orientation (CO). IO is a combination of elements
of both ‘risktaking and proactiveness’ within the enterprise. It is based on early work
conducted by Hurley and
Hult (1998) on developing constructs around ‘innovativeness and the
capacity to innovate in
relation to a firm’s MO’. The concept of CO is based on understanding,
responding to and
delighting the customers’ wants and needs. The customer-orientated firm does
this by adapting the
firm’s behavior in order to satisfy those particular needs better than the
The Business Model Canvas (canvas) (Osterwalder and Pigneur, 2010) has been
popularized as a
tool for lean startups by Blank (Blank, 2013; Blank and Dorf, 2012) and Ries
(2011), although it
originated as a model for large organizations (Osterwalder, 2004). There is a
clear connection to
marketing as well. The design/layout of the model is built upon Porter’s Value
Chain. Inputs from
partners and suppliers are on the left. They flow through the organization, which
uses its key
activities and resources to create new value. The value proposition is
communicated and delivered
to customers.
Miles, Crispin and Kasouf (2011) present a model that maps the nature
and scope of
entrepreneurship and an entrepreneurial perspective to marketing thought and
practice. EM is
shown to complement a MO (Kohli and Jaworski, 1990). Miles et al. (2011)
explain how EM is
applicable to the development and application of disruptive technologies and
dynamic capabilities
but somewhat less so to service dominant logic perspectives.
2.3.1 Summary
All of the above models feed into our conceptualization of the MEI. In the table
below we outline
the key concepts that informed our framework from each of the models.
Hansen and Eggers (2010) brought to light the need to think about the interface
as more than
simply where marketing and entrepreneurship overlap. As described above,
there have been a
variety of models and conceptualizations of the MEI. Building upon these, along
with numerous
concepts related to the interface gathered from attendees during the
“Charleston Summit,” we offer
an updated conceptual framework for the marketing-entrepreneurship interface,
thus, belatedly,
fulfilling a primary purpose of the Charleston Summit.
Building upon the Hansen and Eggers (2010) 4-perspectives framework, we
suggest that there are
just three components to the marketing-entrepreneurship interface.
● Concepts that are commonly used in the two domains (first perspective in
Hansen and
● Entrepreneurial and SME marketing (4th perspective)
● Applications of marketing and entrepreneurship in different contexts
(2nd and 3rd perspectives)
The commonalities between the two, the first perspective, are interesting and
they provided the
origins of the interface. Some examples of commonalities include opportunity
opportunity scanning, value creation, new products, and innovation. Other than
looking at how
these concepts apply to both research domains and building on and borrowing
from each other,
they offer little guidance on future research questions about the MEI.
Hansen and Eggers (2010, p. 44) described the fourth perspective as “[c]oncepts
that are distinct
to the interface and evolve out of the combination of entrepreneurship and
marketing.” They
suggested that Entrepreneurial Marketing (EM) might be considered to
represent the fourth
perspective. We contend that it does indeed, along with Small Business
Marketing, represent the
fourth perspective. EM is defined as the proactive identification, and exploitation
of opportunities
for acquiring and retaining profitable customers through innovative
approaches, to risk
management, resource leveraging and value creation (Morris, et al., 2002). Miles
and Darroch
(2006), suggested that firms adopting EMPs (entrepreneurial marketing
processes) ‘will engage in
marketing processes emphasizing opportunity creation and/or discovery,
evaluation and
exploitation.’ There is considerable evidence that marketing is different between
large firms and
small- and medium-sized (SME) businesses (Hills, Hultman, and Miles, 2007;
Morrish, 2011;
Schwartz, Birch, and Teach, 2007). Thus, we also consider SME marketing to be
something unique
that emerges from the combination of marketing and entrepreneurship. While
both of these are
unique outcomes from the MEI, EM is an already robust area of inquiry, and there
is a long history
of research on SME marketing at the MEI, thus research opportunities are
outlined elsewhere and
limited compared to the vastness of possibilities of examining a wide range of
organizations and
activity in context of both entrepreneurship and marketing. Thus we focus the
remainder of the
article on our third component, the simultaneous application of concepts from
marketing and
Our model of the research domain of the MEI is comprised of four components –
functions/processes, outcomes and environmental context – each of which is
briefly described
Antecedents reflect the entities and the resources they use to initiate processes
within the MEI.
The entities include individual and team actors, such as the entrepreneurs,
intrapreneurs and
marketers, as well as firms of all sizes. These enterprises can be for-profit
or not-for-profit
organizations. In the for-profit context, many are SMEs or individuals that can be
found across
many markets and are located worldwide. These organizations and actors vary
by type, size and
age and research to identify the characteristics that define and motivate these
entities is of keen
interest in MEI research. Further, identifying the resources (human, financial,
experience, etc.) that
can be employed to facilitate the desired outcomes sought by these entities and
how these resources
influence outcomes motivates considerable research at the interface. In the
organizing framework,
three groups of antecedents have been outlined: Actors; Firm Characteristics;
and Resources.
3.1.1 Actors
The actors in our model are the individuals, teams and organizations engaged in
the marketing
and/or entrepreneurial processes. The entrepreneurship literature, more so
than the marketing
literature, has had a strong focus on the individual actors who discover and
exploit opportunities
(Shane and Venkataraman, 2000). Early research focused on differences
between entrepreneurs
and managers (c.f. Stewart, et al., 1999). More recently there is a
growing literature on
entrepreneurial cognition (Grégoire, et al., 2011), such as creativity (Ward,
2004), intentions
(Krueger and Carsrud, 1993; Fayolle and Linan, 2014), knowledge (Shane, 2000),
judgement and
decision making (McMullen and Shepherd, 2006; Simon, et al., 1999) and
alertness (Kirzner,
1997). This said, recent marketing literature has started to give team
marketing/sales credence;
from industrial B2B marketing perspectives (Mullins and Panagopoulos, 2018),
and by developing
theoretical models of diversity at the team level (team diversity) and within
individuals (personal
range) to predict how various sources of diversity influence team effectiveness
(Tasheva and
Hillman, 2018).
3.1.2 Firm Characteristics
Two common aspects of firm characteristics found in the entrepreneurship
and marketing
literatures, and thus used in research at the interface, are entrepreneurial
orientation (EO) and market orientation (MO). EO, which has become a
dominant concept within the field of
entrepreneurship, has been defined as: ‘the propensity of a company’s top
management to take
calculated risks, to be innovative, and to demonstrate proactiveness’ (Morris
and Paul, 1987).
Market Orientation on the other hand is defined as an organisational culture that
results in the:
‘true adoption of the marketing concept leading to a strategic customer focus’
(Deshpande and
Webster, 1989). Two dominant perspectives, are proffered by Kohli and Jaworski
(1990) and
Narver and Slater (1990).
There have been several other firm orientations that have appeared in the
literature, such as
Customer Orientation (CO), Technology Orientation (TO) (Jones and Rowley,
2009, 2011), and
Service-Dominant Logic (SDL) (Michel, et al., 2008). In SDL, skills,
knowledge and
competencies (the operant resources) can be exchanged by embedding them
into objects/products.
Thus, firms wanting to embed SDL are required to take a broader view of
innovation, far beyond
that involved with just the customer orientation or indeed value-in-exchange
through technology
orientation. Two other characteristics found in the literature are firm age and
firm size. As Carson
(2010) states: ‘Depending on how we define Small Business, anything from 80 –
90 per cent of all
enterprises in any developed/developing economy are small in characteristics,
especially so in a
marketing sense in terms of limited resources, limited expertise and limited
impact upon the market
sector in which they belong’ (2010 p 10).
3.1.3 Resources
The final antecedent, resources, has long been relevant in entrepreneurship
(Alvarez and Busenitz,
2001), marketing (Hunt, 1997), and small business (Lee, et al., 1999; Weinrauch,
et al., 1991). A
variety of different resources are relevant to the MEI. These include, but are
not limited to:
networks (Coviello, et al., 1997; O’Dwyer, et al., 2009); knowledge (Busenitz
and Lau, 1996);
human (Bates and Dunham, 1993); and financial (Morrison, et al., 2003).
Different resource
configurations can explain the differences between small/young and
large/established firms
(Heirman, et al., 2004).
The antecedents feed into the various functions and processes of
entrepreneurship and/or
marketing. These may take place at the individual, team or organizational
level. There are a
multitude or functions and processes across the two fields. It is beyond the scope
of this article to
provide an exhaustive list. However, we review some of them in sections below.
3.2.1 Marketing Concepts
The American Marketing Association defines marketing as “the activity, set of
institutions, and
processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that
have value for
customers, clients, partners, and society at large. (AMA 2008). This definition is
the basis of much
of conventional marketing practice. It is argued that marketing plays an integral
role in many
business functions to include new product development, supply chain
management and customer
relationship management (Srivastava, Shervani, and Fahey, 1999). Moorman and
Rust (1999) have
argued that it also serves to motivate the functional processes that link a firm
with its customer and
is key in building customer-centric organizations which excel at customer
management, customer service delivery, and innovation management (Wilkie
and Moore, 1999).
In order to “create, communicate, deliver and exchange offerings” processes
must exist that enaorganizations to identify and address opportunities in the
environment. To this end, the marketing
Construct has evolved to identify those processes that are integral to its
successful implementation.
As such, the following areas have become key to our understanding and
application of the
marketing concept (Table 3). Although not exhaustive, they represent some of
the key marketing
functions or areas that serve to define marketing and affect firm performance
(and maybe survival).
3.2.2 Entrepreneurship Concepts
Unlike marketing, there is no official definition of entrepreneurship. One
widely accepted
description of the entrepreneurship research domain comes from the
Entrepreneurship Division at
the Academy of Management. “Specific domain: (a) the actors, actions,
resources, environmental
influences and outcomes associated with the emergence of entrepreneurial
opportunities and/or
new economic activities in multiple organizational contexts, and (b) the
characteristics, actions,
and challenges of owner-managers and their businesses” (AOM 2011). An
important point is that
entrepreneurship is more than simply the creation of new ventures; it extends
also to existing
organizations, large and small. Our model of the MEI closely follows this
description. We
highlight some central themes that may be useful for identifying future research
opportunities in
the MEI in Table 4.
3.2.3 Entrepreneurial Marketing
We have suggested above that entrepreneurial marketing (EM) is a unique
outcome of the
combination of marketing and entrepreneurship, thus it earns a section distinct
from marketing and
entrepreneurship concepts.
EM is described as a “proactive identification and exploitation of opportunities for
acquiring and
Retaining profitable customers through innovative approaches to risk
management, resource
leveraging and value creation” (Morris et al. 2002, p.5) and “a spirit, an
orientation as well as a
process of passionately pursuing opportunities and launching and growing
ventures that create
perceived customer value through relationships by employing innovativeness,
creativity, selling,
market immersion, networking, and flexibility” (Hills et al. 2010, p.6).
Seven underlying
dimensions to EM have been identified which include proactiveness,
calculated risk-taking,
innovativeness, opportunity focus, resource leveraging, customer intensity,
and value creation
(Morris et al. 2002).
Firms using EM are seen as being proactive with respect to the environment.
Within EM, actions
are viewed as a means by which firms not only create change but also adapt to
change within the
competitive marketing environment (Collison and Shaw 2001; Morris et al.
2002). EM is
characterized as “a seemingly intuitive ability to anticipate changes in
customer demands”
(Collison and Shaw 2001, p. 764). Entrepreneurial firms are exposed to a
higher level of
uncertainty both externally and internally (Wang 2008). EM allows firms to
manage risk by
leveraging relationships with lead customers, networking, and outsourcing
key marketing
activities in order to reduce environmental uncertainty and lesson firm
vulnerability (Collison and
Shaw 2001; Gilmore and Carson 1999; Morris et al. 2002). Innovativeness
within the
entrepreneurial firm is presented as the firm’s ability to identify and develop
new technologies,
product or services, thus EM is ideally suited to motivate this process. As argued
by Morris et al.
(2002), “EM is fundamentally an opportunity-driven and opportunity–seeking way
of thinking and
acting” (p. 13). EM seeks to leverage external alliances and networks. In doing
so, opportunities
for new innovations can manifest through these relationships (Deshpande et al.
1993; Morris et al.
2002). As such, firms that utilize an EM should produce higher rates of new
product and service
development, which in turn are also characteristic of an entrepreneurial
We suggest three categories into which the outcomes of the processes can be
organized. The first
is labeled as “change”. Change itself is not a widely used concept in the
literatures, but it does
provide a good umbrella for concepts that are often used, such as firm growth
which, as previously
mentioned, is commonly used in the entrepreneurship literature. Other changes
include, but are
not limited to, strategy, markets, target customers, etc.; in essence, changes in
both the micro- and
macro-environments. The second category of outcomes is any form of value
created. Value may
be created for customers, the firm, stakeholders, employees, etc. One of
the most common
variables found in the literature is new products or more broadly, new offers
(Davidsson, 2003).
Finally, subjective or created opportunities (Alvarez and Barney, 2007; Dimov,
2007) have been
included as they have received growing attention in the entrepreneurship
Historically, theorists such as Porter (1990) have notionally mapped the space
within which firms
operate as a form of environment or context. Typically this includes forces that
impact a firm, such
as competitive structure, technological change, the regulatory or political
environment, socioeconomic and socio-cultural conditions. Research in this area owes much to the
work of Penrose
(1959) and what she calls the ‘whole firm’. The ‘whole firm’ concept relates to
the influence that
the environment or space has upon the individual entrepreneur or marketer and
how social context
(the individuals’ relationships within the space and the other ‘actors’ within it)
impact the strategy
and operation of the firm. While the range of relevant environmental context
concepts is obviously
vast, a few examples are highlighted here. Many studies show that the industry
in which a firm
operates has an influence on the firm. Other variables include (for
example); turbulence
(Eisenhardt, 1989), risk/uncertainty (Knight, 1921), firm type (Schwartz and
Teach, 2007), culture
(Bjerke and Hultman, 2002), government/regulation (Klofsten, et al., 2010), and
society (Read, et
al., 2009).
Recently, scholars in entrepreneurship have focused on a subset of
environmental context referred
to as an entrepreneurial ecosystem (Neck, et al., 2004). This focus acknowledges
both the diversity
of firms and a recognition of societal influence upon them. It also perhaps
better reflects the
interconnectedness of the interface environment. Stam (2015) describes an
Ecosystem’ as a system where, entrepreneurship takes place within a
community, that emphasizes
the role of entrepreneurship in context. Roundy, et al. (2018) suggest
entrepreneurial ecosystems
operate as complex systems using qualitative comparative analysis, agent-based
modeling, and
interpretivist methods. An entrepreneurial ecosystem is fitting for MEI research
because a firm’s
basis for their market development activities – arguably all their business
decisions – is on
knowledge that is derived at a socially-constructed level, where the individual
entrepreneur is the
focal point and not the firm (Stam, 2015). The socialized nature of this approach
begins with the
individual entrepreneur who then leads the focal firm to create a unique, nonlinear, fluid and
adaptive, ‘situation specific’ MEI ecosystem within a wider business/societal
It is our intention that the model functions as a way to bring together all the work
that has been
done as well as provide a multitude of research questions for future generations
of MEI researchers
to pursue, regardless of whether or not there are existing measurement tools
(Morrish and Deacon,
2010). This is accomplished by identifying relevant relationships that have been
examined and
examining the multitude of relationships that have not been examined. We
provide a nonexhaustive list of suggested research opportunities below.
As described, we suggest that our framework can spawn hundreds of research
questions. One needs
only to draw concepts, contexts, and/or theories from both marketing and
entrepreneurship. We
suggest that the concepts can be drawn from any of the elements of our model
– antecedents,
functions/processes, outcomes, and environmental context. We recommend that
scholars look at
the vastness of the marketing and entrepreneurship literatures to find
theories, concepts and
contexts that can be applied at the interface. We’ve provided a sampling of
major concepts from
both marketing and entrepreneurship above. Any combination from the two
fields would, per our
framework, fit within the MEI. Below, we offer some suggestions based on Tables
2, 3 & 4 – some
more obvious and conventional than others.
Lean start-up (Blank, 2013, Reis, 2011) is a fast-growing area within
entrepreneurship. Customer
development (Blank and Dorf, 2012) and the Business Model Canvas
(Osterwalder, et al., 2004)
are at the heart of it. An important part of lean startup is direct research with
potential customers.
Consumer behavior literature can offer many insights. For example, what are the
most important
considerations concerning modern consumer behaviors that are of most import
to the lean startup? Likewise, what consumer behavior considerations have the greatest impact
on lean start-up
success? Blank and Dorf (2012) also discuss the importance of “earlyvangelists”
– early customers
during the development of a new firm/product that passionately support
and promote the
company’s effort. These earlyvangelists function in the role of promotion.
How do they
communicate with other potential customers? What can be learned from
them in regards to
integrated marketing communications (IMC)? Generating sales in a startup is a
major challenge,
especially in new markets. What can entrepreneurs learn from sales
management and what can
sales management learn from the creative ways entrepreneurs generate
demand? Similar to the
value they may play towards IMC, how do earlyvangelists generate demand?
Some of this research
has been started and published in a recent issue of the Journal of Research in
Marketing and
Entrepreneurship (Hansen, Giglierano and Whelan, 2018).
Marketing communications is a fundamental area of marketing practice and
education. Integrated
marketing communications (IMC) involves the coordination of elements of the
promotional mix
(advertising, sales promotion, public relations, personal selling, and direct
and interactive
marketing). Research concerning the concept itself or of its various components
is extensive.
However, its consideration within the MEI context is not. As such, some questions
that arise might
include, what is the role of IMC in today’s lean start-up? Other research might
address how critical
IMC is to SME or lean startups success. A major part of the process of developing
a high-growth
venture involves pitching a business plan to investors. While the content of the
plan is important,
an area of potential research is to link marketing communications, especially
personal selling, to
the investment process. The current challenge of the ‘pace’ at which
marketers need to be
communicating with consumers in the technology driven environment is
very real. Digital
technologies offer marketers the potential to get the most out of integrated
campaigns. Included in
this is speed-to-market and a test-and-learn mentality, but marketing teams’
today need to be agile
and flexible, as in a lean startup. So another research question might be how
marketing teams can
apply lean startup methods to keep up with the rapid change in communications.
Target marketing and segmentation strategies are fundamental marketing
principles practiced by
successful businesses. The concepts are key and part of most marketing
curriculums. It is
commonly advised that startups target small niche markets – “there are riches
in niches.” Their
practice and use by start-ups and SMEs could serve to forward our understanding
of marketing as
practiced by market-oriented and entrepreneurial-oriented firms.
Ever since McCarthy (1964) propose his 4Ps (i.e., product, price, promotion,
place) model, the
concept has served to influence marketing practice and marketing thought. Used
as an integrating
framework that infers that marketing strategy and implementation must consider
the coordination
and synergy of these four elements in order to succeed in the marketplace. It
has been argued that
the 4P’s do not apply to entrepreneurial ventures. However, there is no question
that ventures must
sell some product or service, through some channels, with some pricing strategy
using some form
of promotion. What can marketing bring to better understanding these within an
context and how might that impact marketing’s understanding of the 4P’s?
Service-dominant logic (SDL) is another area that lends itself to MEI research.
Although SDL has
received significant attention in the marketing literature its impact in highchange/growth firms
has not. Understanding its role in high growth firms can serve to inform our
understanding of the
concept when investigated within the MEI.
Similarly, customer relationship marketing is a crucial area of marketing
practice in today’s
competitive market environment. The use of marketing information systems and
database mining
is commonplace with many retailers. However, for small firms that lack the
resources that larger,
more capitalized organizations possess, understanding its application in these
settings is an area
that lends itself to MEI research. As such, research on understanding what
relationship marketing
is in uncertain markets or how it is practiced within high-change/growth markets
could make a
significant contribution to our understanding of the processes used within the
Another good opportunity is to do a much broader review of the literature using
the MEI model
above. Prior reviews tended to focus on marketing journals, various other outlets
via special issues
(like this one), and/or interface-specific works (Journal of Research in
Marketing and
Entrepreneurship; Global Research Symposium on Marketing and
Entrepreneurship.) Hansen and
Eggers (2010) pointed out that most of the work that combines marketing and
appear in management and entrepreneurship journals.
We contest that within the contemporary understanding of the
‘Entrepreneurial Ecosystem’
approach, a deeper understanding of the MEI, the context specific, is
required. There is an
acknowledgement that the entrepreneur is key to creating economic value
through opportunity
recognition and innovation, however, what is absent is an understanding of how
the individual
entrepreneur ideates and then links ideation to market opportunity – to some
extent this remains a
black box within the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem.
Some further ideas can come from less obvious connections of marketing and
concepts. For example, how might SDL apply to equity investment in
startups? How is
place/distribution channels affected by an uncertain turbulent market? How does
a firm maintain
a market orientation when creating new markets? How can a customer focus
through CRM adapt
to an uncertain changing environmental context? How does opportunity creation
impact market
segmentation? How can SDL be used with effectuation? How might we examine
the entrepreneur,
rather than a customer, from a consumer behavior perspective? Or
conversely, how does
understanding of the psychology of the entrepreneur help inform
understanding of consumer
behavior? Or perhaps what are the connections between consumer behavior and
action? How does branding working with effectuation? How do cultural
differences affect
entrepreneurial marketing?
We believe that the conceptualization of the MEI described here will provide
better guidance to
researchers working at the interface, particularly those who are new to the
MEI, than prior
definitions, frameworks, and reviews. We also hope that researchers within the
marketing and
entrepreneurship domains will find new research opportunities by incorporating
concepts from the
other domain. As this article demonstrates, there are decades worth of research
upon which to build
new research questions, thus the future is indeed in the past.
To conclude our discussion, we call upon researchers to seek a depth of
understanding of the
psychological and sociological aspects of the focal firm marketer/entrepreneur at
the center of a
business. The impact of the external macro environment may be observed,
however the rationale,
logic and reasoning that underpin actions in the internal micro ecosystem may
not. As such, MEI
research offers an opportunity for a wide range of collaborative social science
and cross business
discipline research projects, which themselves could be focal firm, intra-firm and
cross sectoral.
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Table 1: Major Milestones in the History of the Marketing-Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurial marketing evolutionary
Conceptual impact

First marketing and entrepreneurship research
conference International Council for Small
Business (ICSB) and American Marketing
Association (AMA)
Marketing/Entrepreneurship ‘overlaps’
First empirical study of the marketing and
entrepreneurship interface in Frontiers of
Entrepreneurship Research (Hills and Star,
Documented empirical research at MEI

First UIC/AMA Research Symposium on
Marketing and Entrepreneurship (Chair: G.E.
Provided scholars a venue to share
conceptualizations of MEI/EM
‘Missing the boat and sinking the boat: a
conceptual model of entrepreneurial risk’,
(Dickinson and Giglierano, 1986)
First Journal of Marketing article to
directly focus on MEI

‘The relationship between entrepreneurship
and marketing in established firms’, (Morris
and Paul, 1987)
Develops MEI conceptualization by
exploring market orientation (MO) and
entrepreneurial orientation (EO)

AMA Task Force (1989) and, later, Special
Interest Group is established for the
marketing and entrepreneurship interface
First EM Tracks are created in the AMA
summer (1990) and winter (1991)
conferences. Academy of Marketing Science
Congress track in Singapore (1989) (Chair:
G.E. Hills)
A period of conceptual broadening and

Marketing and Entrepreneurship – Research
Ideas and Opportunities (Hills, 1994)
Proposed future research directions and
conceptions for MEI
Marketing and Entrepreneurship in SMEs: An
Innovative Approach’ (Carson, et al., 1995)
First Academy of Marketing Symposium
(U.K.) (Chairs: D. Carson, A. McAuley)
Period of conceptual development to
consider ‘context’ and empirical
research design/approach of MEI
Journal of Research in Marketing and
Entrepreneurship founded (Carson, D., Hills,
Provision of a platform for conceptual
and model development, research
design and experimentation

Special issue of the Journal of Marketing
Theory and Practice on the marketing and
entrepreneurship interface (Ed. M.P. Miles)
The ‘overlap’ conceptualization
broadens further with development
around ecosystem
‘Entrepreneurial Marketing: The Growth of
Small Firms in the New Economic Era’,
(Bjerke and Hultman, 2002)
Provided additional guidance on
content and context of EM
‘Entrepreneurial marketing: A construct for
integrating an emerging entrepreneurship and
marketing perspective’ (Morris, Schindehutte,
and LaForge, 2002)
Proposition of a model for MEI with
seven integrated dimensions and used
widely as a framework for further
research at the MEI
International Journal of Technology
Marketing founded
Presenting work conceptualizing the
interface between Technology/
Marketing/Entrepreneurship as a MEI
context and ecosystem
20th UIC Research Symposium on Marketing
and Entrepreneurship (Chair: G.E. Hills)
At this point the symposium had been a
catalyst for encouraging high quality
scholarly thought and research at MEI
mainly conceptualizing variables of EO
and MO

Special issue of Journal of Small Business
Management on EM (Eds.: M. Grunhagen
and C. Mishra)
Yet a further broadening of the MEI
concept taking in aspects of
entrepreneurial behavior, business
model development and context.
Inaugural Gerald E. Hills Best Paper Award:
‘Causation and Effectuation: Toward a
Theoretical Shift from Economic Inevitability
The Gerald E. Hills Award is presented
annually at what is now known as the
Global Research Symposium on
to Entrepreneurial Contingency’ (Sarasvathy,
S.) (Academy of Management Review, 2001)
Marketing and Entrepreneurship
(GRSME) to the author(s) who have
made a significant impact on MEI
research – published in the previous 10
years in any refereed publication. The
award is peer reviewed by a
subcommittee of the GRSME Advisory
‘Marketing Under Uncertainty: The Logic of
an Effectual Approach’ (Read, et al., 2009)
Acknowledged the concept of
effectuation, an approach that built
upon entrepreneurs’ behavior, context
and ecosystem
The ‘Charleston Summit’ is held in an
attempt to identify a unifying research model
for the MEI
Many insights about the MEI were
gathered and reported in Hansen and
Eggers, 2010. Since no research model
emerged, other than the four
perspectives, this article is an attempt to
fulfill the original mission of the
ANZMAC Special session: The Development
of Entrepreneurial Marketing: Is
Entrepreneurship Relevant to Marketing
(Christchurch, NZ) (Chairs: Morrish, S;
Miles, M.P.)
Acknowledgement within ANZMAC
proceedings of EMI research and
debate (further panel discussions and
tracks at: Auckland, 2013 and
Christchurch, 2016)
Second G.E. Hills Paper Award
‘Social Capital, Knowledge
Acquisition, and Knowledge
Exploitation in Young TechnologyBased Firms’ (Yli-Renko, Autio and
Sapienza, 2001)
Academy of Marketing Science (AMS)
(Coral Gables FL) Special Sessions:
Entrepreneurial Marketing Entrepreneurship
within Marketing Academia (Chair: Uslay,
Practice of Marketing in Entrepreneurial
Firms (Chair: Evanschitzky, H.)
Presentation of MEI research and panel
discussions at AMS and thus
‘mainstream’ marketing research
Entrepreneurial Marketing: Is
Entrepreneurship the Way Forward for
Marketing? (Chair: Morrish, S.)
‘Academic Roots: The Past and Present of
Entrepreneurial Marketing’ (Hills, G.E. and
Hultman, C.M.) Journal of Small Business &
A 20-year retrospective of EM
gathering key insights and conceptions
from the leading MEI scholars –
concluding that EM is simultaneously
divergent and convergent with extant
Marketing and Entrepreneurship
Third G.E. Hills Award
‘The Effects of Entrepreneurial
Proclivity and Market Orientation on
Business Performance’ (Matsuno,
Mentzer, and Ozsomer, 2002)
Fourth G.E. Hills Award
‘Entrepreneurial marketing: A construct
for integrating an emerging
entrepreneurship and marketing
perspective’ (Morris, Schindehutte, and
LaForge, 2002)
‘Entrepreneurial Marketing: Global
Perspectives’ (Sethna, Z., Jones, R., Harrigan,
P.) Emerald Publishing
A scholarly text outlining the evolution
and acceptance of EM around the
world, by delving into the leading
components of EM; the perspectives
and approaches which have enabled
EM to become an established school of
Fifth G.E. Hills Award
‘Network Dynamics in the International
New Venture’ (Coviello, 2006)
Sixth G.E. Hills Award
‘Look Before You Leap: Market
Opportunity Identification in Emerging
Technology Firms’ (Gruber,
MacMillan, and Thompson, 2008)
AMS (Denver) Special session: Opportunities
and Challenges at the Marketing
Entrepreneurship Interface
(Chair: Salehi-Sangari, E.)
Panelists: Salehi -Sangari, E.,Morrish,
S. , Thongpapanl, N., Miles, M., Mills,
A.J. and Pitt, L. – a ‘coming of age’
session, illustrating the cross
disciplinary and international nature of
MEI research
Seventh G.E. Hills Award
‘Marketing Under Uncertainty: The
Logic of an Effectual Approach’ (Read,
et al., 2009)
‘The Anatomy of Entrepreneurial Marketing:
International Perspectives’, Journal of
Strategic Marketing (Eds.: A. O’Cass and
S.C. Morrish)
Illustrating the reach and range of MEI
research – internationalizing the
concepts of EO and MO
Eighth G.E. Hills Award
‘Consumption-Driven Market
Emergence’ (Martin, and Schouten,
GRSME 30-year anniversary meeting at
Babson College – San Francisco Campus
The initiative for this issue – and
exemplars the rich modelling,
conceptualizations and relationships of
theory and practice at, around and
beyond the MEI
Ninth G.E. Hills Award
‘Where is the Opportunity without the
Customer? An Integration of Marketing
Activities, the Entrepreneurship
Process, and Institutional Theory’
(Webb, et al., 2011)
Adapted from Hills, Hultman and Miles (2008)
Table 2: Summary of Key Concepts from Prior Models of the MEI
Key Concepts
Interface Models

Hills, 1994; Morris, et al., 2006; Miles et al. 2011
Entrepreneurial opportunities
Hills, 1994; Hills and Hultman, 2006; Bjerke and Hultman,
EO components – risk-taking,
innovativeness, proactiveness
Gardner, 1994; Hills, 1994; Morris, et al., 2006; Jones and
Rowley, 2009
Innovation/New Product
Gardner, 1994; Morris, et al., 2006; Jones and Rowley,
2009; Miles et al. 2011
Market Orientation
Morris, et al., 2006; Jones and Rowley, 2009; Miles et al.
Resources – internal and
external, including information
Gardner, 1994; Bjerke and Hultman, 2002; Hills and
Hultman, 2006; Osterwalder and Pigneur, 2010
Uncertain, turbulent, dynamic
Gardner, 1994; Hills and Hultman, 2006; Morris, et al., 2006
Value creation
Hills, 1994; Bjerke and Hultman, 2002; Hills and Hultman,
2006; Osterwalder and Pigneur, 2010
Table 3: Marketing Concepts with Potential for Future MEI Research
Key References
The management of a brand. A brand is a
“Name, term, design, symbol, or any other
feature that identifies one seller’s good or
service as distinct from those of other sellers.
Aaker and Keller, 1990;
Aaker, 1991; Keller, 1993
The study of consumers and the processes
they use to choose, use (consume), and
dispose of products and services.
Belk, Wallendorf, and
Sherry Jr.,1989;
Holbrook, 1987; Sheth
and Parvatiyar,1995
A comprehensive business model for
increasing revenues and profits by focusing
on customers. Manages the most valuable
customers relationships. Cuts across the
entire organization but most used by
marketing, sales, and customer service.
Impels the firm to be customer-centric.
Berry, 1983; 2002;
George, 1990
A strategic approach to communicating the
brand and company message to targeted
customers in ways that are clear, concise, and
consistent to maximize the impact on a
particular audience.
Reisch, 1998; Schultz,
1998; Schultz,
Tannenbaum, and
Lauterborn, 1993
A firm orientation that (1) places the highest
priority on the profitable creation and
maintenance of superior customer value
while considering the interests of other key
stakeholders; and (2) provides norms for
behavior regarding the organizational
development of and responsiveness to market
Day, 1994; Jaworski and
Kohli, 1993; Kohli and
Jaworski, 1990; Slater
and Narver, 1994

The process of dividing the market into
segments (groups) of consumers whose
Johnson, 1971
needs can be grouped together.

The 4-Ps
Known as the marketing mix and stand for
product, price, promotion, and place.
Represent the key elements involved in
marketing a good or service to consumers.
McCarthy, 1964
An evolutionary process-based theory of
competition based upon Austrian economics
and resourced-based theory of the firm. Put
forth by Hunt as a General Theory of
Hunt and Morgan, 1996;
Dominant Logic
A framework for explaining value creation,
through exchange, between configurations of
actors. The basis of S-D logic is that humans
apply their competences to benefit others and
reciprocally benefit from others’ applied
competences through service-for-service
Ballantyne and Varey,
2008; Lusch and Vargo,
2006; Vargo and Lusch,
Target Marketing
A process of evaluating relevant market
segments, then making decisions about
which among them is most worthy of
targeting for development.
Aaker, Brumbaugh,
Grier, and Trickle, 2000;
Marshall and Johnson,
Table 4: Entrepreneurship Concepts with Potential for Future MEI Research
Key References
Capital investment
Investments made typically in early-stage
ventures by individual “angels” or venture
capital firms whereby the investors
assume some of the risk for a chance at a
high rate of financial return
Fried and Hisrich, 1994;
Gompers, 1995; Mason and
Stark, 2004
Firm growth, especially rapid growth, is
typically the focus in entrepreneurship.
However, growth is a subset of change.
Davidsson, 1991; Thakur,
1998; Carson, 2010.
The inverse of causation. The process
takes the means as given, rather than the
ends. New ends are created from the given
means, rather than determining and
acquiring a set of means to achieve a
given ends.
Perry, Chandler and
Markova, 2012; Read, et
al., 2009; Sarasvathy, 2001.
Definitions of an entrepreneur vary
widely. Research on the individuals has
focused instead on behavior, cognition
and psychology, also as the actor the
recognizes and pursues opportunity.
Baron and Ward, 2004;
Carland, et al., 1988;
Gartner, et al., 1994;
Grégoire, et al., 2011;
Kirzner, 1997
Behavior in response to a judgmental
decision under uncertainty about a
possible opportunity for profit
Klein, 2008; Krueger and
Carsrud, 1993; McMullen
and Shepherd, 2006
The propensity of a company’s top
management to take calculated risks, to be
innovative, and to demonstrate
Covin and Slevin, 1991;
Lumpkin and Dess, 1996
New venture creation within existing
organizations or the transformation of
ongoing organizations through strategic
Covin and Miles, 1999;
Dess, et al., 2003
Lean start-up/ new
or nascent
An early-stage organization, with limited
resources and revenue, still in search of a
product-market fit.
Blank, 2013; Gartner,
1993; Lichtenstein, et al.,
2007; Katz and Gartner,
1988; Tornikoski and
Newbert, 2007
New markets
(Market Creation)
Firms that seek new product market
spaces that allow the firm to move from
over-crowded hypercompetitive markets
to markets with little or no competitive
threats into a new commercial and
technological ecosystem
Coutant, 1936; Kim and
Mauborgne, 2004; Morris,
Kuratko and Covin, 2008;
Darroch, Morrish, Deacon
and Miles, 2013
New Value
There are many forms of value creation,
including, but not limited to: new
products, profit/wealth, opportunities,
employment, and recently there has been
an interest in social value creation
Hitt, et al., 2011; Mair and
Marti, 2006
Opportunity and
Related Processes
Exogenous market conditions and/or
endogenous business ideas that could lead
to new products, production methods,
organizations or markets and the
processes of observing or creating them
Hansen, et al., 2018; Shane
and Venkataraman, 2000;
Short, et al., 2010
SME’s/ Ownermanager
Small-to-medium-sized businesses,
typically run by a manager who is also the
owner of the business
Aldrich, 1992; Borch and
Arthur, 1995; Acs and
Audretsch 1988; Birch,
1979; Gilmore and Carson,
turbulent markets;
High rate of
change (including
Markets that are rapidly changing and/or
where the future is highly uncertain or
Knight, 1921; McMullen
and Shepherd, 2006;
Sarasvathy, 2001

Figure 1 – Framework for the Marketing-Entrepreneurship Interface
Citations (13)
References (130)
… Decision-makers often face the challenge of adding value to customers within their
evolving business models (Gassmann et al., 2014;Osterwalder and Pigneur, 2010). To help
small firms cope with the pressures of operating within changing environmental conditions,
there has been a growing body of knowledge surrounding the merits of owner-managers
possessing an entrepreneurial marketing orientation (Hansen and Eggers, 2010;Hansen et
al., 2020;Hills et al., 2008;Morris et al., 2002;Morrish et al., 2010). This construct (sometimes
termed the marketing/entrepreneurship interface) was recently defined as “an agile mind-set
that pragmatically leverages resources, employs networks, and takes acceptable risks to
proactively exploit opportunities for innovation co-creation, and delivery of value to
stakeholders, including customers, employees, and platform allies” (Alqahtani and Uslay,
2020, p. 64). …
… One common viewpoint is that this is comprised of seven dimensions, namely,
proactiveness, risk-taking, innovativeness, opportunity focus, resource leveraging, customer
intensity and value creation activities (Morris et al., 2002). Another school-of-thought is that it
exists at the intersection between a market orientation and an entrepreneurial
orientation (Hansen et al., 2020;Jones and Rowley, 2011). Consequently, this current study
follows this latter way of thinking by conceptualising (and later operationalising) an
entrepreneurial marketing orientation as encapsulating the combination of market-oriented
and entrepreneurially oriented activities (following Baker and Sinkula, 2009;Morgan et al.,
2015). …
… Underpinned by the resource-based view (Barney, 1991(Barney, , 2001(Barney, , 2018,
the study’s conceptual model ( Figure 1) contained two hypothesised paths and 11 control
variables. First, an entrepreneurial marketing orientation was expected to enhance financial
performance (Hansen et al., 2020;Jones and Rowley, 2011). Second, given the importance
of network relationships (Alqahtani and Uslay, 2020;Whalen et al., 2016), coopetition was
anticipated to exhibit a positive moderation effect concerning the link between an
entrepreneurial marketing orientation and financial performance. …

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