Purpose: Drawing on the knowledge-based view of the firm (KBV) and Dynamic Marketing Capabilities (DMC), this paper examines the role of key internationalization knowledge absorption processes as learning strategies, namely market exploitation and market exploration in enabling internationalization knowledge absorption in export-oriented firms involved in manufacturing goods or producing electrical/engineering products. Design/methodology/approach: The data were gathered via a cross-sectional survey using a questionnaire (i.e. n = 315) on a sample of Bangladeshi manufacturing firms exporting in US and European markets. Findings: The findings suggest that an export firm's internationalization absorption strategies are positively associated with export performance. The authors also found that the mediator, DMC, strengthened the relationship between knowledge absorption and export performance. Moreover, the findings of moderated mediation model revealed that the direct and indirect effects of market exploitation on export performance are more prevalent when competitive intensity is low. While competitive intensity is high, the direct and indirect effects of market exploration on export performance are more prevalent. Practical implications: By introducing a higher-level dynamic marketing capability approach and linking it to ambidexterity constructs (learning though exploration and exploitation), export business professionals should appreciate the full spectrum of mid-level marketing capabilities they need to develop alongside their exploration and exploitation strategies to improve their export performance. This study directs attention to the competitive intensity conditions the exporting firm is facing. When export business professionals are faced with high-level of competitive intensity in the market, they should establish a clear focus on their exploration learning strategies if they wish to enhance their export performance. Originality/value: The authors contribute to two broad domains of literature: organizational learning and DMC strategy. The study results show that how the two components of international ambidexterity as organizational learning constructs (i.e. market exploration and exploitation) influence knowledge management processes within firms through a firm's possession of a fine configuration of higher-level marketing capability. This study also theoretically and empirically examines how higher-level DMC strategy can mediate the consequence of international knowledge absorption mechanism on firm export performance. From a practical perspective, this study provides useful lessons for exporting firms wishing to enhance their performance.