It is increasingly recognised that so-called business skills are deemed important for both business and non-business graduates (Cummins, 2016). It is argued that engineers, for example, need to be equipped with skills that include critical thinking, creativity and entrepreneurship (Felder, 2006) and to be prepared for the increasingly global labour market (Huang-Saad et al., 2016). Yet it is also acknowledged that students in these disciplines do not fully appreciate the need for these skills nor how they might deploy them in their graduate employment (Bridge et al., 2010; Cummins, 2016).

For non-business and business students, entrepreneurship education tends to be non-compulsory and is generally not regarded as being particularly relevant, and hence suffers from a lack of participation (Shekhar and Huang-Saad, 2021). Marketing education, in both a business and non-business student context, suffers from a perceived gap between what is taught and what is practised and many researchers have lamented its lack of impact on other disciplines (Harrigan and Hulbert, 2011).

Entrepreneurial Marketing (EM), which captures the marketing practices of entrepreneurs, is growing in importance in today’s hyper-competitive marketing place (Hansen et al., 2020). This study posits that Entrepreneurial Marketing education (EME) represents an orientation and a skill-set that will enthuse students more than entrepreneurship education (EE) and/or marketing education (ME). The study further proposes that both business and non-business students – but principally the latter – will show greater enthusiasm if any programme of EME is not ‘packaged’ under the label of entrepreneurship education and/or marketing education .

Literature Foundation
The economic impact of entrepreneurship is becoming increasingly recognised (Shekhar and Huang-Saad, 2021) and in tandem with this, universities are considered to have an important role in contributing to economic prosperity (Preedy and Jones, 2017). Accordingly, there has been an increased focus on the delivery of EE for students, with a particular focus on non-business students. Of the plentiful research into EE, most is ‘forward facing’ in that it examines the impact of EE on skill development (Shekhar and Huang-Saad, 2021). EE has been shown to lead to positive outcomes including enhanced employability and an engenderment of an entrepreneurial leadership orientation. However, amongst non-business students, EE is often offered as supplementary and is often dismissed as peripheral (Cummins, 2016; Shekhar and Huang-Saad, 2021). It is suggested that a core reason for a lack of enthusiasm is its implied association with starting a business (Bridge et al., 2010) which renders its perceived applicability limited; in the UK it is reported that only 5% of graduates go on to start their own business (Phillips, 2019).

Recent incarnations of EE take a broader approach and are underpinned by the principles of autonomous and leadership behaviours (Preedy et al., 2020). Research would indicate that key entrepreneurial skills are those related to: positive attitude and initiative; communication and interaction; team-work and collaboration; critical and analytical thinking including risk assessment; creativity and innovation (Bolzani and Luppi, 2021). In terms of what someone emerging from EE should be able to do, business planning, financial planning and pitching are commonly cited (Watson et al., 2017; Watson and McGowan, 2020) but marketing is not given prominence, if mentioned at all.
In the US the ‘Lean Launch Pad Entrepreneurial Curriculum’ has enjoyed widespread inclusion in engineering courses (Huang-Saad et al., 2016) and it draws on nine fundamental components of a business: value proposition, customer segments, customer relationships, channels, key partners, key activities, key resources, costs and revenues. Within this curriculum lies the feature of ‘customer discovery’ (Huang-Saad et al., 2016) and it is clear from the components of this programme that a customer-orientation, and hence a marketing orientation, is a key focus. However it is the case that it remains labelled an ‘entrepreneurial curriculum’.

Research into marketing education (ME) often refers to the competencies that graduates entering marketing jobs are expected to possess: macro – broad-based skills, common to most ‘business jobs’ and micro – specific to marketing positions (Honea et al., 2017). There is overlap with entrepreneurial competencies but there are skills, particularly micro skills, that are specific to marketing positions such as: brand management and marketing communications (Honea et al., 2017). What is accepted is that there is an increasing importance placed on analytical skills (Schlee and Karns, 2017). In terms of ME for non-business students, it is in the areas of sales training where much interest is directed. It has been found that educational exposure to sales can affect intent to pursue a sales-related profession (Peltier et al. 2014).

There is no research to speak of into EME on business students let alone non-business students. Morris et al. (2002) see EM as a perspective for proactively seeking novel ways to create value for customers and build customer equity. The facets of EM are considered to include: change/growth; entrepreneurial opportunities; entrepreneurial orientation (risk-taking, innovativeness, proactiveness); innovation/new product development; marketing orientation; resources (internal and external); uncertain turbulent dynamic markets; and value creation. It is proposed that EME represents a more practicable, valuable, realistic and relatable framework than either EE or ME. However, it is also proposed that students will be influenced by the connotations of the label ‘entrepreneurial marketing education’ and may still question its relevancy.

With an acknowledged lack of research that takes a ‘pathway to entry’ perspective (Shekhar and Huang-Saad, 2021), the objectives of the study are:
• To establish if EME is considered more relevant to business and non-business students than either EE or ME alone
• To establish if EME is considered more relevant to business and non-business students when it is presented without the labels of either entrepreneurship or marketing
• To propose critical features of EME to enhance participation of business and non-business students

Two quantitative studies will be executed. Study 1 will involve business and non-business students and will ascertain the relative attractiveness of the facets of a programme of EME (not labelled as such), of a programme of EE (not labelled as such) and of a programme of ME (not labelled as such). Study 2 will involve a different set of business and non-business students and will be split-group in design. One group will be presented with the facets of a programme of EME (not labelled as such) and the other group will be presented with a programme of EME, which is labelled accordingly. The influence of personal characteristics such as gender and years in education will be assessed. The study will surface critical features of EME that will enhance participation by both business and non-business students.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2022 Global Research Conference on Marketing and Entrepreneurship Proceedings
Number of pages2
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 7 Apr 2022
Event2022 Global Research Conference on Marketing and Entrepreneurship - Whistler, British Columbia, Canada
Duration: 2 Aug 20224 Aug 2022


Conference2022 Global Research Conference on Marketing and Entrepreneurship
CityBritish Columbia
Internet address


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