this paper analyzes the factors determining the degree of engagement in export activities and verifies their implications in the performance of brazil's chicken exports. the exporters were first divided into groups by cluster analysis, after which the companies in each group were classified, according to their performance, as more successful or less successful. the results indicated that the company's international experience, its relations with foreign markets, and its competitive approach toward its competitors are the main determinants of its success, for they exert a positive influence on the choice of international marketing strategies that lead to improved performance. surprisingly, however, the company's degree of internationalization, the manager's international focus and his expertise in relations with foreign markets did not directly affect the choice of international marketing strategies producing a satisfactory performance. no evidence was found that the size of the business influenced its export performance.