5.1. Why Marketing Is Critical for Entrepreneurs

Marketing is a vital process for entrepreneurs because no venture can become established and grow without a customer market. The process of acquiring and retaining customers is at the core of marketing. Entrepreneurs must create the offer (design the product and set the price), take the offer to the market (through distribution), and, at the same time, tell the market about the offer (communications). These activities define the famous Four Ps of marketing: product, price, place (distribution), and promotion (communication).

Entrepreneurs often are faced with designing the entire "marketing system"—from product and price to distribution and communication. Because it is difficult and expensive to bring new products and services to market—especially difficult for new companies—they need to be more resourceful in their marketing. Many entrepreneurs rely on creativity rather than cash to achieve a compelling image in a noisy marketplace.

An important part of gaining the market's acceptance is building brand awareness, which, depending on the stage of the venture, may be weak or even nonexistent. Entrepreneurs must differentiate their company's product or service so its distinctiveness and value are clear to the customer. This is the job of marketing.

Marketing also plays a central role in a venture's early growth stages when changes to the original business model may be necessary. Companies focused on growth must be able to switch marketing ...

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