Marketing for the project: project marketing by the contractor

Publication Type:
Journal Article
International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, 2019, 12, (1), pp. 211-227
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to identify the marketing practices adopted by contractors in project-based industries to win new business and maintain relationships with existing clients. Design/methodology/approach – The authors interviewed eight such contractors, and used activity theory as a lens to analyze the results. The authors investigated project marketing activities at four stages of the project contract life cycle, and against four enablers of collaboration. Findings – The authors have identified that the service-dominant logic pervades project marketing. Through the project contract life cycle the marketing activity starts with a strategic focus, becomes tactical, then operational and returns to strategic. Project marketing involves executive managers, marketing, client or account managers and project managers. Project managers have a key responsibility for project marketing. The four enablers of collaboration, relationships, communication, going-with and trust, support each other and the entire project marketing activity. Research limitations/implications – As a contribution to theory, the authors have identified the practices adopted by contractors in project-based industries to market their competencies to clients to win new work and maintain relationships with existing clients. The authors have identified practices throughout the contract life cycle, and practices to develop collaboration. The next step will be to explain these practices in terms of traditional marketing theory. Practical implications – The results provide guidelines to contractors in project-based industries who wish to improve their marketing activity to achieve sustainable performance. Industry may also find it useful to train or coach their project managers to be conscious of their marketing role. Originality/value – Previous work has been conceptual in nature and has speculated on the nature of the project marketing performed by contractors to win new projects, and set it against marketing done by the project. This research has empirically investigated the actual marketing practices adopted by project contracting organizations, shown how it varies through the project life cycle and shown how responsibility passes from senior management to the account team and then to project managers. It has also investigated the application of the four enablers of collaboration: relationships, communication, going-with and trust.
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