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School of Business | Department of Management and International Business | SME Business Management | 2013
Thesis number: 13427
SME view on project marketing - case study in the context of institutional space business
Author: Lahtinen, Janne
Title: SME view on project marketing - case study in the context of institutional space business
Year: 2013  Language: eng
Department: Department of Management and International Business
Academic subject: SME Business Management
Index terms: pk-yritykset; smes; markkinointi; marketing; projektit; projects; yrittäjyys; entrepreneurship; prosessit; processes; toimialat; business branches; teknologia; technology; avaruus; space; kansainvälinen; international
Pages: 88
Full text:
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Key terms: entrepreneurial marketing; project marketing; project marketing process; small and medium-sized enterprise; SME; space business; European Space Agency; ESA
Project business is one of the dominant modes in international business and it has increasing significance. The work is typically organised as projects, for example, in construction, shipbuilding, aerospace, and defence industries. However, the existing project marketing literature has concentrated almost exclusively on large firms. Thus, the specific characteristics of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and the influence of these characteristics on the project marketing practices of SMEs have not received much attention. The identified research gap is the project marketing from SME and entrepreneurial perspective. The aim of this study is to provide new insight into this research gap. The objective is to identify and describe the marketing practices that SMEs apply to survive and succeed in project business.

Based on the existing literature on project marketing and entrepreneurial marketing, a conceptual framework has been developed and applied to guide the empirical part of the study. The framework combines the three-stage model of project marketing process (including 'independent of any project', 'pre-tender', and 'tender preparation' stages) with the core underlying dimensions of entrepreneurial marketing ('opportunity orientation', 'market driving', 'customer intensity', 'resource leveraging', 'risk management', and 'innovativeness').

The conducted study is a qualitative, multiple case study including five SMEs from four different European countries. The selected context is institutional space business, but the focus has been further narrowed down to the space business generated by the European Space Agency (ESA).

According to the results of this study, SMEs apply marketing practices that are in general agreement with the developed conceptual framework. However, this study extends the current understanding of the phenomenon beyond the existing literature and gives a more fine-grained view of it. Also, this study indicates that the existing literature on project marketing is not fully applicable to SMEs. Furthermore, the existing literature on entrepreneurial marketing is not entirely applicable to project business, at least not in the studied context. The main empirical findings that extend the existing project marketing and entrepreneurial marketing literature are associated with resource leveraging, risk management, evaluation of project opportunity, and the political dimension.
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