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Entrepreneurial marketing: Dimensions and challenges in Pakistan


As the human race further develops and advances, new research paradigms come forward every day. Entrepreneurial marketing is no stranger to such a process.
How can we define Entrepreneurial Marketing? It has only been recently that Entrepreneurship has emerged as its own field of study. Due to the success of companies such as Microsoft, Apple, and Dell it seems that entrepreneurship is in a class of its own and needs different strategies. This is where entrepreneurial marketing comes in. It doesn’t cater to the traditional need of a single marketing strategy but introduces a marketing spirit and differentiates itself from conventional practices. It is a process in which opportunities are pursued so that business ventures can be grown through creating value in the eyes of the customer. This is done by employing methods such as innovativeness, selling, and networking.
Now you may ask what is the need of such a new form of marketing when the old ones work just fine. In the business world there is a common proverb “The big fish eats small fish”. In order to level the playing field and allow small businesses to flourish without taking advantages of larger more established firms. Similarly, small businesses who face more challenging external environments may require more aggressive marketing approaches to effectively compete and grow market share. Nowadays economic development through entrepreneurship is a concern globally. However, the changing marketing dynamics are causing new challenges for entrepreneurs. Due to this, fewer entrepreneurs are entering the markets now, even those who are, there is a greater probability to fail and exit. The failure process also demoralizes upcoming graduates for choosing entrepreneurial career paths. One of the main reasons for graduate entrepreneurs being under prepared to implement marketing strategies is the gap in the entrepreneurship education system, which in the end leads the graduate entrepreneurs towards failure. Business school graduates do not to grasp the process of SME/entrepreneurial marketing; and lack such entrepreneurial skills to a great extent that are required to practically start an SME venture.
Entrepreneurial marketing is informal and ad hoc in nature, therefore, it is practiced more in the developing economies where macroeconomic indicators are unstable resulting greater challenges for entrepreneurs as compared to the developed economies. On the contrary, entrepreneurial marketing literature has an abundance of studies from developed countries, whereas the studies on developing countries are limited.
Entrepreneurial Marketing has seven dimension all of which are practiced in Pakistan. These are: 1) Pro-activeness, this happens when an entrepreneur or firm behaves like an agent of change and creates a new market by offering new products or services, 2) Opportunity driven, continuous recognition and pursuit of opportunity without regard to the resources controlled, 3) Risk management, an entrepreneur stays in comfort of calculated risks, 4) Innovation focused, that promotes new and different solutions, 5) Customer Intensity, the reinforcement of passion for the customer where an entrepreneur act as an agent for the customer; 6) Resource leveraging, doing more with limited resources, and, 7) Value creation, the ratio between the benefits and cost
In a recent study done in 2020 by Tayyab Amjad, Shamsul Huda Binti Abdul Rani and Shiza Binti Sa’atar an eight dimension of entrepreneurial marketing has been discovered. 8) Legitimation, generalized perception that the actions of a firm or entity are desirable, proper or appropriate within some socially accepted norms, values, and beliefs. Legitimation exhibits the reliability of a firm/entrepreneur, this enhances the perception of the audience that they are interacting with the right person/firm or someone who has the right tools and expertise.
In the developing economies, the techniques used for legitimation by the entrepreneurs are somewhat different from developed economies. For instance, entrepreneurs use an American website style to improve the legitimacy of their business. Whereas in developing countries like Pakistan, due to the lack of cyber laws, people are much more reluctant in online purchases. Hence, technical features such as website style do not create legitimacy. Rather personal forms of legitimation are widely used; for example, personal experience, certifications, and qualifications are more frequently used by the entrepreneurs for legitimation.
Entrepreneurial marketing is no stranger to barriers as well and developing nations produce it on a silver platter. The three most identified in Pakistan are: 1) Change resistant culture: Underdeveloped economies worldwide are usually changing resistant, which is perhaps one of the reasons for their slow development. This resistance to change shows in everything like people’s behaviors, actions, decision-making, and choices, 2) Weak Legislation and Law Enforcement: The weak legislation and implementation of laws in underdeveloped countries create big challenges for businesses, especially for those who are in their start-up phase. In Pakistan the electricity cost for commercial consumer is very high. Moreover, due to the electricity production shortage, the businesses face eight to ten hours of electricity shutdown every day, 3) Lack of Professionalism: lack of professionalism is a common problem in the developing countries. It is particularly present in the Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian Islamic states. Countries which rank higher on the individualism scale in Hofstede’s cultural dimension model, are proved to be higher in professionalism, and countries that rank lower in the ‘uncertainty avoidance’ and ‘power distance’ scales are also more likely to be ranked high in professionalism. In Pakistan’s case, it ranks low on ‘individualism’ scale and high in ‘uncertainty avoidance’ and ‘power distance’ scales, thus proved to be a society with a lack of professionalism.
Amidst all these problems solutions are few and far between but that does not mean they don’t exist. The responsibility falls on the shoulders of education systems, they need to equip the youth with such methods such as entrepreneurial marketing and other strategies which will benefit them when they open their own ventures.