Internationalisation and international marketing in practice : three case studies of small and medium-sized B2B companies
Abstract: Because of an increased Globalisation, it is no longer a question whether or not to operate on an international level. Globalisation refers to the fact that companies do not only compete with local companies; they also compete with companies that invade the domestic market. The international participation establishes a coercion to deliver a competitive international marketing. Guidelines for Internationalisation and international marketing have been done on the basis of the premise of big companies. Hence, when it comes to small and medium-sized B2B companies this thesis contributes with additional information. The purpose is to explore how small and medium- sized B2B companies market themselves in an international context. Understanding how these companies have come as far as they have come, how these companies perform on the international market and how they act to reach new markets. This has been explored through literature revolved around major steps in internationalisation and standardisation or adaptation of the marketing mix in the context of SME and B2B. The study is based on three case studies of three Swedish international small and medium-sized B2B companies. The research approach was abductive, and the empirical collection was of qualitative form. The empirical material was collected through in-depth semi structured interviews with knowledgeable representatives from international small and medium-sized B2B companies. The interviews were complemented with secondary data. Findings reveal that even though the three companies are in stage three in their internationalisation, there are differences in regard to how active they are internationally. Regarding how the companies internationalises, these companies internationalised because of a demand abroad or the benefit of increase profit. These companies mainly used waterfall approach and entered countries one by one with the exception of one company who used sprinkler approach. Also, these companies entered countries that are similar and close compared to the domestic country Sweden. Furthermore, these companies entered a market through Direct Export in forms of subsidiaries and own or locally agents. Furthermore, insights in standardisation and adaptation of the marketing mix were revealed, where product and place were adapted by all companies. Price and promotion were adapted in two out of three companies and standardised in one company. Connected to the context of the study, being a small and medium-sized company was not a crucial limitation for the companies’ internationalisation. Additionally, regarding the context of B2B, quality & design, Long-term customers & Word of Mouth showed to be the most important key factors for B2B companies that operate internationally.
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