Markkinoinnin ja viestinnän yksikkö, 2019
Master's Degree Programme in International Business
Due to the emerging growth of the health sector in Finland, internationalizing SMEs have captured the interest of researchers and other governmental entities such as Business Finland. Often, Finnish SMEs face the challenge of operating in small domestic markets which forces them to seek foreign revenue and increase international involvement. However, SMEs in Finland are largely lacking international orientation and necessary marketing skills for fast internationalization. Health sector seems to be the fastest growing industry in terms of exports which creates an incentive to examine the internationalization processes of the SMEs. Furthermore, digitalization and consequent popularity of digital marketing tools together with networks have increasingly influenced internationalization processes of SMEs. Overall, as internationalization is often viewed as an entrepreneurial process, the following research question will be presented: “How can entrepreneurial digital marketing accelerate internationalization for Finnish SMEs in the health sector”.
The empirical research was conducted through qualitative in-depth interviews. Total of six interviews were conducted from four SMEs who operate in the Finnish health sector. The interviewed SMEs were categorized as born-globals or non-born global based on their internationalization speed. The interviewees were decision-makers of their respective organizations, typically CEOs, founders or marketing managers. The objective of the interviews was to examine the internationalization processes together with digital marketing practices, in which the overall theme revolved around the dimensions of entrepreneurial marketing. Furthermore, the meaning of networks and decision-making logic was included.
Based on the interviews and academic literature, it seems that two of the case companies could be categorized as born-global organizations due to their internationalization speed. Furthermore, it seemed that the born-global case companies utilized entrepreneurial dimensions in their digital marketing practices which may explain the faster internationalization compared to their counterparts which were categorized as non-born globals. The born-global case companies seemed to utilize five out seven entrepreneurial dimensions within their digital marketing practices, against their counterparts who only utilized two to three out of seven dimensions. Lastly, each case company emphasized the value of networks regarding internationalization processes. However, only the born-global case companies seemed to have direct positive influence from networks to their internationalization speed. It seems that networks alone do not accelerate internationalization but rather in conjunction with entrepreneurial marketing
Internationalization, Born Global, Entrepreneurial Marketing, Digital Marketing, SMEs