University of Oulu

The role of marketing communications in an innovation commercialization process of a start-up company

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Author: Hamari, Milka1; Huttunen, Mira1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Oulu Business School, Department of Marketing, Marketing
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2.3 MB)
Pages: 149
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : M. Hamari; M. Huttunen, 2016
Publish Date: 2016-09-16
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Koivumäki, Timo
Reviewer: Ulkuniemi, Pauliina
Koivumäki, Timo


This study was undertaken as a master’s thesis in marketing in the spring of 2016. The aim of the study is to investigate the role of marketing communications in the innovation commercialization process in start-up companies and offer guidelines for start-up companies on utilizing marketing communications tools in the commercialization of innovative products. The reason for choosing this particular topic is that start-ups have a major role in creating innovations, but they may have trouble with commercializing them. We believe that marketing communications have the potential to enhance the possibilities of a company to success in their commercialization process.

This research is a qualitative case study of four start-ups that have discovered some form of new technological innovation and utilize it in their product. The primary data is collected using semi-structured interviews and puzzle exercise.

The theoretical part of the study is divided for three sections. The first theme contains topics of innovation, innovation strategy, product development and innovation commercialization process. The second theme is going through theory of marketing communications. The third section is theoretical framework which is built to combine theories regarding the innovation commercialization process and marketing communications. The theoretical framework is the basis which our research is built upon. The empirical part of our thesis comprises an analysis of our research data which is presented in a thematic order that follows order of our theoretical framework. In the chapter, we draw comparisons between theory and empirical data.

As a conclusion, we have formulated a start-up verified framework that is based on our theoretical framework, but altered to meet the commercialization process of a start-up company. The start-up-verified framework is applied in answering the research questions. As the main result we found out that the role of marketing communications is essential throughout the innovation commercialization process even though its importance and purpose fluctuates between different stages of the process. During the process of commercialization, the role of marketing communications evolves from preparing activities into implementation of actions.

This thesis contributes to the previous studies on commercialization process, as there are no studies made on within this specific start-up context combining commercialization and marketing communications. From a theoretical standpoint the results of this study highlight the iterative nature of the phases of commercialization process. As a managerial implication, our start-up verified framework serves outlines for discussion about marketing communications and how it could be connected to their commercialization process. Limitations of this thesis concern relatively small sample size of empirical data, which leads us to believe that our research does not reach a degree of validity that would be suitable for making generalizations. We also knowingly ignore whatever happens after the last stage of commercialization process, so we do not argue how a start-up company would continue to develop if we knew that the commercialization process had been carried out successfully.

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Copyright information: © Milka Hamari; Mira Huttunen, 2016. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.