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The performance of entrepreneurial ventures: Examining the role of marketing practicesPurpose – Despite the importance of marketing to the success of entrepreneurial ventures very few researchers have studied the links with new business performance. The purpose of this paper is to examine a number of marketing practices in relation to the performance of new firms. Furthermore, the study considers the moderating influence of market competitiveness on the marketing practice-performance relationship. Design/methodology/approach – Both postal and web surveys were utilized to collect responses from 128 entrepreneurs in the early stages of business creation. The data were subjected to exploratory and confirmatory factory analyses to establish the marketing practices in new ventures. These results were then subjected to hierarchical regression analysis to study the marketing-performance relationship. Further analysis was conducted to explore the moderation hypotheses. Findings – The results demonstrate that some practices generally associated with marketing – selective distribution, market segmentation and advertising – have limited impact on performance in new ventures. In contrast, other practices such as product/service innovation, market research and service quality and functionality – do help establish competitive advantage. The results suggest that marketing practices associated with “entrepreneurial behaviour” and not “hard” marketing techniques drive new venture success. The results also support the moderation hypotheses confirming that market conditions help explain the role of marketing in new venture success. Research limitations/implications – The paper offers a new theoretical framework to better understand the marketing-performance relationship in new ventures and offers suggestions as to the specific conditions for effective use of various marketing practices. Originality/value – This is one of the first attempts to explore the underlying mechanisms that support marketing practices in new ventures. It reveals the hidden dimensions of the marketing-performance relationship and thereby makes a contribution to both the marketing and entrepreneurship literatures.