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How do mature born globals create customer value to achieve international growth?

Svante Andersson (School of Business, Engineering and Science, Halmstad University, Halmstad, Sweden)
Gabriel Baffour Awuah (School of Business, Engineering and Science, Halmstad University, Halmstad, Sweden)
Ulf Aagerup (School of Business, Engineering and Science, Halmstad University, Halmstad, Sweden)
Ingemar Wictor (School of Business, Engineering and Science, Halmstad University, Halmstad, Sweden)

International Marketing Review

ISSN: 0265-1335

Article publication date: 19 May 2020

Issue publication date: 19 May 2020

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Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to investigate how mature born global firms create value for customers to achieve continued international growth.

Design/methodology/approach

The study employs a case study approach to investigate the under-researched area of how mature born globals create value for customers and, by doing so, contribute to their continued international growth. This in-depth examination of how three born globals developed over time uses interviews, observation and secondary data.

Findings

The findings indicate that the entrepreneurs of born global firms, that continued to grow, created a culture in the early stages that supported value creation for foreign customers. These firms have built a competitive position by developing international niche products. They have also implemented a combination of proactive and reactive market orientation to facilitate the creation and delivery of value to customers. To maintain growth, they further invest the revenues earned on additional international marketing activities and continuously enhance their focal products.

Research limitations/implications

The study relies on three cases. We therefore recommend that future studies extend the scope of the research to several companies in various industries and countries, in which the theoretical arguments can be applied. In addition, further studies that test the propositions developed in this study, in different contexts, are highly recommended.

Practical implications

To gain international growth, managers should create an organizational culture that facilitates satisfying international customer needs. Firms should continuously invest in sales and market development (e.g. social media marketing, personal selling) and undertake technology development of niche rather than new products. To achieve international growth, managers need to standardize part of the offer to achieve economies of scale and adapt the other part to international customers' needs.

Originality/value

Research on born globals has focused on the early stages of their internationalization processes, while largely neglecting the later stages (mature born globals) or the factors that lead to continued international growth. To address this gap, this study explores what happens when born globals ‘grow up’. This study contributes to the literature by capturing the factors and processes underlying how mature born globals create value for customers, for international growth. In particular, the study shows that the culture and strategies developed in the born globals' early stages also lead to international growth in later stages. The mature born globals have also invested in niche products, brand building, and effective market channels and adopted a combination of proactive and reactive market orientations.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors thank the KK foundation for financial support.

Citation

Andersson, S., Awuah, G.B., Aagerup, U. and Wictor, I. (2020), "How do mature born globals create customer value to achieve international growth?", International Marketing Review, Vol. 37 No. 2, pp. 185-211. https://doi.org/10.1108/IMR-11-2018-0340

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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