How LinkedIn can boost SMEs’ Digital Marketing Strategies on International Markets: A Case Study of an Apulian Tech-Intensive company


  • Claudia Spilotro LUM University
  • Giustina Secundo LUM University
  • Pasquale Del Vecchio LUM University
  • Vincenzo Barbieri Planetek Italia



Digital marketing, Data, Case study, SMEs, LinkedIn, Internationalisation


The use of digital marketing tools, especially social media, could support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) achieving a sustainable competitive advantage. Business-to-business (B2B) SMEs have discovered the potential of social media in identifying new business opportunities and building quality business contacts especially in international settings. LinkedIn, in particular, seems to be a valuable tool for lead generation and networking, thanks to knowledge and insights coming from structured and unstructured data. Despite the growing interest in adopting LinkedIn for marketing purposes, a significant gap persists in terms of the benefits coming from the adoption of digital marketing within B2B firms and SMEs. To address this gap, this study aims to examine how a social network can support a SME’s internationalisation process in technology-intensive niche sectors. The study adopts an exploratory method based on a case study of an Apulian company operating in the field of aerospace, which provides services to vertical markets. The study employs the action research methodology, using structured interviews and direct observation for data collection, and an inductive and iterative approach for data analysis. Findings demonstrate that an effective strategy utilising LinkedIn can be a game-changer for high-tech SMEs. This strategy sees the implementation of a data-driven approach that relies on the analysis of data and knowledge from buyer personas to predict their expectations, which are crucial for identifying the ideal target audience. The proposed roadmap composed by several maturity steps to lead the company in the process of potential customer identification, lead generation till customer engagement, provides a useful guideline for company managers involved into a structured and standardised innovative digital marketing strategy. Indeed, by integrating the various digital tools and strategic communication on LinkedIn, SMEs have the opportunity to create a data-driven marketing strategy that can lead them to internationalisation and finally to company growth.