Competitive Strategies for International Marketing of Hardwood Products Based on the Mining of Open Questionnaire Data
Smith, Robert L.
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International markets for U.S. forest products continue to make a significant contribution to the national economy; sustaining growth in production and job creation as demand from domestic markets is still yet to match that observed during the early 2000s. In this context, industry, government, and academia remain focused on procuring better market shares in foreign markets. The goal of this research is to help hardwood mills to improve their understanding of the needs of potential clients abroad and thus helping them to develop a competitive advantage. An exploratory study based on text mining of questionnaire data was conducted following a competitive criteria-based model on the major foreign markets for U.S. hardwood products. From a sample of buyers attending trade shows in Asia and Europe, this work has identified a series of factors for manufacturers to consider in future export ventures. It was determined that price and quality play multiple roles in developing a competitive advantage. Color-consistency and an adequate stock of the right mix of species are considered minimum requirements to compete in those markets. In contrast, certain time-compression dimensions are perceived as opportunities to add value and, therefore, to stay ahead of the competition.