Title: Trial-and-error marketing: the role of the customer in tech start-ups

Authors: Fabian Eggers; Deborah Brown McCabe

Addresses: Department of Marketing, Menlo College, 1000 El Camino Real, Atherton, CA 94027, USA ' Department of Marketing, Menlo College, 1000 El Camino Real, Atherton, CA 94027, USA

Abstract: This paper explores the role of a customer- or product-centric focus in young technology firms' decision-making and whether the behaviours of these firms differ from 'textbook' marketing. Data from depth interviews with founders of growth-stage tech start-ups reveal that new product development relies on four key approaches: self-focus, need finding, network creation and utilisation, and middle ground. Their 'trial-and-error marketing' is related to several theoretical constructs from the management, marketing and entrepreneurship literature. This paper provides a set of propositions and managerial implications.

Keywords: trial-and-error marketing; technology firms; effectuation; improvisation; qualitative methodology; customer involvement; tech start-ups; entrepreneurship; new product development; NPD; customer-centric focus; product-centric focus.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTMKT.2016.075678

International Journal of Technology Marketing, 2016 Vol.11 No.2, pp.149 - 164

Received: 30 Mar 2015
Accepted: 06 Apr 2015

Published online: 28 Mar 2016 *

Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article