This paper examines the nature of SME (Small to Medium Sized Enterprise) international marketing strategies, using a framework developed by Merrilees and Tiessen (1999). This framework highlights two main types of marketing strategies: relationship‐driven and sales‐driven. The original study was developed using case studies of Canadian SMEs exporting to Japan whilst this current paper employs a quantitative survey of 182 SMEs. The addition of this quantitative sample enables a more analytical approach to be employed to aid our understanding of the particular nature of SME relationship marketing in an international context. Two different methodologies, factor analysis and cluster analysis are used for this purpose. Finally, the paper investigates the link between relationship activities and export performance. The paper confirms the usefulness of the Merrilees‐Tiessen classification of SME international marketing strategies, develops a new classification of SME international relationship marketing, and establishes a link between superior relationship activities and superior export performance.
Merrilees, B., Tiessen, J. and Miller, D. (2000), "Entrepreneurial Internationalisation: The Role of Distributor/Client Relationships", Journal of Research in Marketing and Entrepreneurship, Vol. 2 No. 1, pp. 57-73. https://doi.org/10.1108/14715200080001539
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