Friday, January 7, 2011

Marketing Process for Project Management

And why you need to align (i) how others see your project to (ii) what your project really is

About marketing
I confess I have a love/hate thing for Marketing. Love the creativity but hate the attitude. At least the attitude I usually see which is being on your toes and pretending to be something you're not. You know what I mean, like those people that can always find a way to say how great they are when in fact they're not. But...

Seth Godin
...But then I came across an excellent post "The appearance of impropriety" on Seth Godin's blog where he defined marketing as what others say and think of you. It seems that the trick has 2 parts:
  1. Act considering what others would say of your options (eventually choosing a second best line of action)
  2. And so make the image that others have of you to be what you actually are...
Ah ha! So this is marketing! And it does sound a lot different from the "be on your toes" kind of approach, doesn’t it? This is good and sound marketing, not an evil and greyish thing.

What about Project Management?
Now in Project Management you have to deal with people, right? And if people don't see you and your project as they are then you're bound to get in trouble somewhere along the way. Imagine you're doing a project that will increase the productivity of a group of people. Imagine also that the project is being done because that company expects to increase business so much that either they hire more people or they streamline processes and stuff so their productivity is increased. If you don't pass this message in every opportunity you have, if you don't include this in all your communications, then people affected by your project might start to worry about their jobs; they might even try to sabotage it and start saying that things won't work if the project is implemented. Now this example is with people affected by this project's results which are weak stakeholders in many cases. Imagine if this happens with a stronger stakeholder. Imagine if it happens with the project sponsor. Have I got your attention already?

Marketing and risks
Alliging (i) what people think of your project to (ii) what your project really is makes sense.
So why not include marketing on you Project Management needs and worries? What you really should do is include a Marketing Process mingled with the rest of your Project Management processes. A Marketing Process?? Sure, and this can be done in very simple inexpensive ways, depending on the context of each project - there are simple processes you know? The simplest process that I can think of is to include a risk on every project, something like the following would do:

"Stakeholders might misunderstand why this project is being done
because -->root cause<--
and the impact would be -->the impacts<--"

Pretty simple - and inexpensive. With this risk included in every project of yours you would be able to:

  • Remember of this potential mismatch 
  • Act accordingly in your particular context
The best part is that it would be inexpensive to start off and you would never fail a project because you just didn't imagine that this could be a problem – isn’t this why we have Risk Management? Bottom line is that you could be turning your project into a success. So if you include this risk on your projects then...

...then you could be a better project manager!

If you enjoyed this you may also enjoy these related posts:
Filed under the same labels:

Images from and

Posted by


Darren said...

Great simple idea! I like it! Will include it in my next project! Thanks Luise!

Luis Seabra Coelho said...

Thank you for you comment Darren.
And I'm happy you have found a useful suggestion.
Maybe the PMI will include a Marketing Knowledge Area on the next PMBOK revision ;)

Peter Taylor said...

Interesting - I am doing some research in this area right now so if you have 5 minutes I would be delighted if you could take my short survey on marketing your projects at

I am also running some discussions on great Project Names on LinkedIn.


The Lazy Project Manager

Luis Seabra Coelho said...

You're welcome, and I thank you for your comment Peter.
I was to answer your survey some days ago but it didn't really apply to my reality and. But I've done it now, I hope I was able to help you on that.
You could bring some value here and tell us what you think about this Marketing thing: is it a good idea to include Marketing on your projects? All project or just some kinds of projects in particular? Is the inclusion of this risk something that makes sense to you? How do you approach Marketing in your projects?

experiential marketing said...

You definitely have to have a good marketing strategy so that you be able to promote your product well.