A qualitative study regarding the importance of marketing communication for international expansion among Norwegian entrepreneurial companies
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According to EU’s Innovation Union Scoreboard from 2015, Norway is a moderate innovator performing below the EU average for most dimensions and most indicators of innovation. Furthermore, according to research conducted by BI Norwegian Business School, less than 4 out of 100 Norwegian companies are exporting goods and services abroad; which implies that internationalization is not on the agenda for the majority of Norwegian companies. This is further supported by Global Entrepreneurship Monitor which highlights that Norwegian entrepreneurial companies are distinguished by a very low score (5 %) compared to other innovation-driven countries in relation to having ambitions of employing more than 19 employees in 5 years. In other words, Norwegian entrepreneurs have extremely low growth ambitions. Based on this, in addition to the downturn in the Norwegian oil industry which has resulted in more than 35 000 jobs being cut since 2014, Norway is now, more than ever, dependent on finding new business opportunities in order to secure the future economy. In accordance with this necessity, and the lack of international growth ambitions among Norwegian companies, we formulated the following research question: How can Norwegian entrepreneurial companies become international “growth champions”? With emphasis on marketing communication within the B2B technology sector. Based on the issues presented above, we have chosen to further study the following underlying areas of importance: Norway as an inferior innovator compared to our neighboring countries; the framework conditions of Norway, the importance of marketing communication in relation to achieving international expansion, and the development of an effective marketing communication. To gain the necessary and sufficient data in order to conduct this research, we have carried out a qualitative study consisting of 15 in-depth interviews with individuals we believe are very knowledgeable and relevant for our area of research. These individuals include successful Norwegian entrepreneurs and advisors within the field of entrepreneurship and internationalization. Throughout our analysis and discussion, we linked the theoretical framework towards our findings from both primary and secondary sources. Through extensive interpretations, analysis and discussion of our collected data, several discoveries were made; enabling us to draw conclusions. Based on our conducted research, we discovered that the framework conditions among the Nordic countries are rated as approximately equivalent, despite the fact that Norway is a moderate innovator while Sweden, Denmark and Finland are all innovation leaders. This implies that Norway’s shortcomings related to innovative performance may be a result of other factors, e.g. global ambitions and marketing knowledge. In addition, our findings stress that Norwegians, in general, have insufficient export and growth ambitions and low willingness to pursue entrepreneurship. In other words, the Norwegian entrepreneurial culture and ambitions are inadequate; implying that the main obstacle towards international entrepreneurship is the entrepreneurs own psychological barriers. In order to become an international growth champion, a drastic change of the Norwegian culture and mindset towards entrepreneurship and international expansion is therefore necessary. Furthermore, our research has clearly stated the importance of conducting marketing communication in order to achieve international success. Even though marketing communication is both product- and industry-dependent, our research indicates that it is critical for rapid global growth. As the heart of business lies in marketing, focus on, and the creation of, solid marketing communication is invaluable. In this regard, we established the 10 commandments for international growth champions, which we believe will function as an effective “toolbox” in order for Norwegian entrepreneurial companies to internationalize faster and better; i.e. achieve international success.
Master's thesis in Firm management