Creative economy start-up success: The use and misuse of market research by creative economy entrepreneurs

The creative economy encompasses advertising, architecture, the arts and antiques market, crafts, design, designer fashion, film, interactive leisure software, music, performing arts, publishing, software, television, and radio. The creative economy presupposes entrepreneurial success, and it has become common-place to talk about “market validation,” “customer development”, and “pivots” among creative economy entrepreneurs—suggesting that a market orientation focus yields superior outcomes (such as start-up success, which is this study’s focus) compared with earlier (more internally, entrepreneur-focused) approaches to entrepreneurship.

Yet, despite the widespread acceptance of the virtues of a “market orientation”, especially in the broader circles of entrepreneurship, failure rates for new ventures in the creative economy remain very high. How can this be explained; are there unique circumstances in the creative economy stifling the application of customer–oriented market research by entrepreneurs; can it be that ‘creativity’ and ‘research’ do not go together well? This research aims at a multi-disciplinary, multi-method understanding of how creative-economy entrepreneurs and corporate innovators use (and omit) market research in the creative economy.

Research questions include: RQ1: How do entrepreneurs use (or omit) market research, and are there unique market research circumstances characteristic of the creative economy? RQ2: How does variation in the use of market research predict creative economy start-up success? RQ3: What kind of interventions can improve the effect of market research on creative economy start-up success.

Dr Greg Nyilasy, Faculty of Business and Economics, The University of Melbourne

Prof Bryan Lukas, The University of Manchester