Marketing literature has emphasized the factors hampering marketing planning and strategizing in small firms, in particular resource scarcity, lack of specialized structures and competences. Recent streams of literature in entrepreneurial marketing have nonetheless shown that small firms do engage in peculiar marketing strategies and activities that do not necessarily reflect codified processes observed in large organizations. Within this line of research, the article aims at contributing to extant theory in entrepreneurial marketing placing under scrutiny the generative moments of marketing strategies in small firms. Through the integration of literature in entrepreneurial marketing and in entrepreneurship and through the analysis of four case studies, the article proposes a conceptual framework that emphasizes the centrality of entrepreneurial sensemaking in small and medium-sized enterprises’ marketing strategies. We posit that entrepreneurs are engaged in the construction of interpretive frameworks that, when explicated and made accessible to consumers and stakeholders, legitimate novel business ideas and logics. These interpretive frameworks structure the content and processes of marketing activities. Theoretically, the article aims at contributing to the debate on marketing in small businesses shedding light on the processes underlying the formation of marketing strategies. Propositions are offered to guide future empirical research based on the proposed conceptual framework.
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In Alvarez and Barney (2007) opportunities are «created endogenously by the actions, reactions and enactment of entrepreneurs exploring ways to produce new products and services […] In creation theory entrepreneurs do not search, they act and observe how consumers and markets respond to their actions».
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Bettiol, M., Di Maria, E. & Finotto, V. Marketing in SMEs: the role of entrepreneurial sensemaking. Int Entrep Manag J 8, 223–248 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11365-011-0174-3