Graduate School of Business


Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)


Steven Cates


Microenterprise, Sustainability, Marketing, Micro-enterprise, Lifecycle


Business | Marketing


This research study was a qualitative, multiple case study on how the implementation of good marketing techniques impacts the sustainability of microenterprises. This is a replicative extension study of prior research that revealed a theme of “promotional activities” correlating to microenterprise sustainability beyond two years (Haynes, 2017). This research extended the prior study by significantly increasing the number of participants (from six to forty), providing heterogeneity regarding lines of business, expanding to a new geography (the Upstate of South Carolina), focusing exquisitely on marketing techniques (as defined by the classical Marketing Mix), and defining sustainability by using both an accepted theoretical organizational concept (the Organizational Life Cycle) and the participants’ own definitions of success. The final analysis revealed that a healthy understanding and/or implementation of Marketing Mix techniques contributed to sustainability. The majority of the participants had a basic understanding of the classic “4 P’s”; Product, Price, Place, and Promotion; but their knowledge was developed through an often costly method of trial and error. Participants with a business education, acquired either informally or formally, were able to avoid the costly process and realize sustainability at a quicker pace. The owners’ definitions of success contributed substantially to the degree to which they pursued education and their implementation of the various elements of the classical Marketing Mix.

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