|dc.description.abstract||This research investigated the factors that affect export marketing strategies in New Zealand avocado export firms, and how successful these strategies are perceived to be. A conceptual framework of export marketing strategy was adapted from Cavusgil and Zou (1994). The framework postulates that export marketing strategy is determined by internal forces such as firm size, managerial experience, and firm international experience, and by external forces such as export market competition intensity. The study differs from previous export marketing strategies studies in that the (1) analysis was made on a horticultural export venture; (2) the small sample size restricted the statistical approaches; (3) an eclectic methodology was chosen for the study because of the small size. A descriptive approach was used to describe the features of each avocado export firm, while a mapping approach was used to explain how firm’s behaved by relating the firm's characteristics to export marketing strategies; (4) export performance was measured as satisfaction by asking export managers to rank on a 10 point scale, the perceived satisfaction of branding, market research, and pricing strategy.
Some unexpected results were obtained in this study. Twelve of the 16 propositions were not supported, and in one case, the opposite relationship was found. Two were partially supported and only one was supported. Those propositions which state that larger firms will have more sophisticated branding and market research strategies were partially supported. It was expected to find a higher level of branding strategy in markets where competition is more difficult, however, the opposite was found. It was expected to find a strong use of country image as a component of branding strategy in the avocado export industry. However, there was no relationship found between country images and branding strategy. The relationship between the levels of branding strategy with the level of export performance was the only supported proposition.
Reasons were sought to explain why the marketing literature failed to explain much of the behaviour of the New Zealand avocado industry. The first reason was that there are few studies in the literature that explain the behaviour of export marketing strategies for agricultural produce. It is also possible that avocado is not a highly differentiated product, with the exported variety being considered homogeneous among producers and retailers. It is possible that there is no visible characteristic other than size that could make New Zealand avocado different from avocado of other countries. Therefore, this product may have many of the characteristics of a commodity product.||en