A Gateway for Smes Toward Internationalization Essay

11321 WordsFeb 25, 201546 Pages
Original Article Virtual worlds: A gateway for SMEs toward internationalization Received (in revised form): 30th October 2011 Diana Hassouneh is a PhD candidate at the Department of Business Economics and Strategic Management at Vrije Universiteit Brussel. She holds an MSc in International Marketing Management from University of East London. Her current research interests are in the areas of: Internet Marketing, Virtual Worlds Marketing, Virtual Reality Interfaces and Consumer Behavior. Malaika Brengman is Associate Professor at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, where she teaches Marketing, Consumer Behavior, Strategic Marketing Management and Marketing Research. Her research interests involve the effectiveness of marketing communications, retail marketing (on- as well as offline) and consumer and shopper behavior, with a special focus on store design and atmospherics. She has published her work in well-established journals and has presented her research findings at many conferences all over the world. ABSTRACT The Internet, in its 2D form, offered answers to some of the internationalization barriers of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and has questioned the available internationalization models. Virtual worlds (VWs) have recently emerged as a promising platform for conducting various business and marketing activities. The current article is the first to examine their value in the internationalization process of SMEs. On the basis of literature from both the international marketing and the information systems fields, as well as incorporating current business practices, a model for internationalization using VWs is proposed. VWs’ potential as a market knowledge generator, a strategic tool for internationalization (marketing program testing and brand building) and as a business platform for real and in-world product is evaluated. Further, a strategy

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