Project Marketing Plan

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Seth Godin: “Marketing is a contest for people’s attention.”

Problem – Project Marketing Plan

A standard project communication plan specifies the messages that will be communicated to the project’s stakeholders. For each message, it also specifies the responsible person, the audience, the main objective of the message, and the communication tools, method and timing. However, a standard communication plan is inadequate for funding communications. Moreover, in an organization where many projects are competing for scarce funding, a project marketing plan is required to increase the probability that your funding request will be approved for your project.

Ideal State – Project Marketing Plan

When funding is scarce and projects are plentiful, the ideal state is a project marketing plan that sells your project to the formal, or informal, funding committee. This marketing plan requires pre-sales activities that reveal objections and drive support, sales activities that help convince the decision makers to fund your project and post sales activities that maintain the support of decision makers.Project Market Plan

Root Cause – Project Marketing Plan

The root purpose for a project marketing plan is that funding approval is difficult to secure for a project. Moreover, even after your project is approved for funding, conditions may change and funds may be withdrawn. You must therefore market your project so it is the first to receive funds and the last to have funds withdrawn.

Context – Project Marketing Plan

The context for a project marketing plan is you have a high level summary of your project’s value proposition, timeline and cost. You also have a pitch deck comprised of the lean project startup deliverables.Project Market Plan

However, to secure funding among competing projects, preparation is required before you make your pitch to the funding committee. In addition, maintenance activities are required after you receive funding.

The point is that you must sell your project to the multiple decision makers who comprise the funding committee. Some decision makers will be supportive, some will be indifferent, some will be detractors and may have alternative agendas. In addition, some will be technical and some will be non technical. Also, some will have a lot of knowledge about your project’s value proposition and some will have little knowledge.  However, almost all of these decision makers will be very busy and will have little tolerance for an unprepared presentation. You therefore need a coherent project marketing plan to maximize your probability of success.Project Market Plan

The first goal of your project marketing plan is to understand the lay of the land. First you must determine your organization’s financial climate. In particular, you must determine the level of competition for funds. Also, you must understand the predisposition of the decision makers on the funding committee. You must identify which decision makers are your supporters, who are undecided and who are your objectors. You must enlist the help of your supporters on the funding committee to determine how to convert each “no” and each “maybe” into a “yes”.

Your pre-sales discovery will help you optimize your project marketing plan to achieve your funding goals. Your goals are to prepare the funding committee to receive your funding request in a favorable light. Then convince the committee to fund your project ahead of competing options. Then, if the financial climate changes, your post sales goal is to ensure the funding committee is predisposed to cut other projects before yours.

Solution – Project Marketing Plan

Tom Stewart: “Internal marketing is probably much more important than external marketing. That’s even more true today than it’s ever been.”

A traditional external marketing plan identifies market segments, determines which of the segments to target then develops a positioning statement for each target market. This is followed by the 4 P’s of marketing – product, price, place and promotion. In the case of an internal project marketing plan, you should address the 4 P’s first then segment the decision makers, target your detractors and position your project for funding.

The 4 P’s of marketing can help you optimize your messaging to improve your chances of receiving funding for your project. First, it should be clear that the “Product” that you are marketing is your project. Your Problem Solution Fit and Product Market Fit will help you clarify your project’s value proposition. The “Price” is your project’s budget. The “Place” represents “distribution“. You must use your supporters as influencers who help distribute your message to the undecided and the detractors. “Promotion” entails using your 30 second elevator pitch to reinforce the value proposition of your project. Your elevator pitch must reinforce how your project helps achieve one or more of your organization’s strategic objectives. It should also specify the target customer, their underserved need and quantify the benefit. Your elevator pitch should also indicate why your organization must execute the project now and affirm that your organization is capable of executing your project. You must be able to deliver this message with enthusiasm whenever you get that 30 second opportunity.

In your project marketing plan, you should segment the members of the funding committee into your supporters, the undecided and your objectors. You need to target all three of these segments but define different objectives and deliver different positioning statements for each.

For example, the marketing objective for your supporters is to convert them into influencers who promote your project. You need these supporters to help you convert the undecided and the objectors into supporters of your project. You must energize and reenergize your promoters. Conversely, the objective for your objectors is to neutralize their objection and transition them to the ranks of the undecided or even transform them into supporters. To do this, you must first understand the reason for their objections. Then you must position your project as a solution to a strategic objective or an underserved need that the detractor values. Your research, and help from your supporters on the funding committee, will help you figure out what is valued most by the detractors and the undecided. Your objective for the undecided is to convert them into supporters. One way to do this is to position your project as a key step to achieve at least one of your organization’s strategic objectives. If you are able to convert detractors to undecided and further convert the undecided to supporters then you will increase the probability that your project will receive and retain funding.

Your Feedback

Enter your comments below so we can update this post and provide better solutions for the community. Also, if you have created any project management tools or templates that you would like to contribute for communal use then please send each one, with a brief description, to

Business Opportunity

Project Market PlanThere is an opportunity to systematize the lean startup process for projects. Let us know if you would like to collaborate as a part of our community to transform these opportunities into an easy-to-use solution that will help assure project value and improve project failure rates. Alternatively, if your company is willing to contribute some of your time to help specify a solution to meet their specific needs then they will receive free licensing for an agreed period of time. Each project requires a project manager, an architect, a business analyst, a developer and a QA lead.

Simple Life Lesson

Project Market Plan
Word of mouth is the most valuable form of marketing, but you can’t buy it. You can only deliver it. And you have to really deliver. G-Eazy
Never forget that you only have one opportunity to make a first impression – with investors, with customers, with PR, and with marketing. Natalie Massenet
You don’t need a corporation or a marketing company to brand you now: you can do it yourself. You can establish who you are with a social media following. Ray Allen
For a truly effective social campaign, a brand needs to embrace the first principles of marketing, which involves brand definition and consistent storytelling. Simon Mainwaring
Growth hackers are typically computer engineers that build great marketing ideas into the product during the development process. Ryan Holiday
Growth-hacking is about scalability – ideally, you want your marketing efforts to bring in users, which then bring in more users. Ryan Holiday

Innovation Incubator

  • Are you tired of using the same old Project Management tools and techniques and getting the same unacceptable results?
  • Have you developed a project management tool or technique that has improved the performance of your projects?Project Market Plan
  • Is your organization interested in trialing innovative project management tools and techniques?

Contact us to list a project management tool that you have developed or to trial of any of the following innovations:

6SigmaPM – A proactive project health check. It measures your project’s vital signs then recommends corrective actions to prevent a negative trend becoming an actual problem. The benefit is predictable project performance.

JoinMyOrder – A group purchasing system. You submit a purchase order, other like minded customers also make a commitment to buy, then suppliers compete for the high volume purchase order in a reverse auction. You receive the price, terms and conditions normally available only to much larger organizations.

Crowd Bootstrap – A startup ecosystem in an App that offers innovation as a service. You sponsor a startup accelerator and determine its industry focus. The accelerator invests business services from independent contractors into selected startups to help accelerate their progress. You get access to the startup’s team, knowledge, products and services. You receive the benefits of an accelerator without the usual costs. It is “innovation-as-a-service” in an App.

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