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At last night’s Fill the Gap Marketing Academy our guest speaker, Barry Ardley from the University of Lincoln, brought to the table the idea of entrepreneurial marketing.

Here is a short blog post that summarises what Barry explained, and at the end, a few ideas / actions that might help a small/medium business to implement these ideas.

There was a lot of information to take on in a short period of time, but what became clear was that entrepreneurial marketing offers an alternative to the traditional marketing mix, where you move from the Four P’s (Product, Place, Price, Promotion) to the four C’s:

  • Co-created solutions/experiences
  • Communication with communities
  • Customizable personal value
  • Choice and convenience

However, this does not mean that the four P’s are not relevant anymore. The 4 P’s still remain a good beginner framework. The 4 C’s are simply more consumer based and so it is recommended that they are integrated and combined in order for a company to successfully penetrate the market.

For a company to been seen as adopting an entrepreneurial approach to their marketing they must be:

  • Proactive
  • Obsessed with opportunity
  • Customer focused
  • Innovative
  • Constantly creating value
  • Risk takers
  • Leveraging their resources

To try and put it simply, entrepreneurial marketing is all about a company proactively seeking ways to be innovative, establishing new ways of creating value for their target market and building customer relationships. Adopting this approach can help your business to develop a range of marketing activities that can make you stand out in a market that is constantly evolving.

The ICON matrix grid (displayed below with examples) integrates both customer orientation and innovation, permitting companies to identify if their focus is more innovative or customer focused. The matrix helps you establish what your business is currently doing and if it is appropriate for the market in which your company operates.

Isolate: Firm becomes the focus of its own attention

Follower: focus on the items customers want

Shaper: Product becomes essential in defining the market

Interact: Customers co produce

No area of grid is the wrong or right approach. It just gives you an idea of where your current position is in the market and if your approach needs to change to adapt with the current market environment.

Should businesses move away from traditional marketing methods
Entrepreneurial marketing is a vast subject and it could be debated until the next Academy but here are a few points I picked up on during last night’s academy on how businesses can become more entrepreneurial with their marketing:

  • Your business should be proactive – don’t wait for opportunities to come along, create them yourselves.


  • Create value for your clients to stand out from your competitors – what benefits does your company offer? Can you add extra value to your services/products?


  • Resource Leveraging – At the academy and other networking events, you meet a variety of businesses that provide a range of products and services. Is there an opportunity for you to work together? Can you offer your business to them and vice versa?


  • Sometimes you have got to take a risk – While it might be hard for big businesses to take risks as new services/products take months to execute, small businesses have the opportunity to test their new products or services out in the market without the backlash that big businesses could encounter.


  • Use your customers – Great ideas can come from your customers. By engaging with them, you could discover a market that your company could expand into that you didn’t even think about.

So should businesses ignore traditional marketing approaches? Traditional marketing methods are still here to stay, but with the world being is dynamic and constantly changing, adopting an entrepreneurial approach with your marketing can help your business to keep ahead in the market.

One ultimate thing will always remain the same – your customer is key.