Entrepreneurial Marketing: the practices of Portuguese tourism startups
Start-ups and small businesses face significant challenges due to the increasingly complex and fast-changing markets in which they operate. As a consequence, these types of organizations must be capable of adjusting their resources and react quickly in this reality. In this case, marketing plays a key role in creating brand awareness and attracting and retaining customers. Thus, the creation and development of their marketing strategies is an ongoing debate which needs to be addressed and well understood. When combining these two fields (Start-ups and marketing), the concept of Entrepreneurial Marketing (EM) appears. Despite the debate on its definition, it is clear that EM differs from traditional marketing regarding its business strategy (which is more proactive, risk-taking and innovative), its methods (which are more informal and interactive) and its outcomes. Given the relevance to understand and discuss EM, this paper analyses tourism-related start-ups in Portugal who applied to a yearly competition in the tourism field launched by a Portuguese venture capital organization during 2016-19. The goal is to understand the marketing or EM strategies and methods used by investment ready start-ups. It was observed that start-ups usually really on short-term low-risk marketing strategies, such as the development of websites, social networks, related websites, as well as through sponsoring bloggers/influencers. Also, partnerships are used as a marketing strategy, given its effectiveness and cost-efficiency.