Marketing and Selling Construction Services
Blackwell Science | 2000-03 | ISBN: 0632049871 | 406 pages | PDF | 1.5 MB
At last years Construction Marketing Question Time at the Building Centre in London, over fifty representatives of leading edge consultants, contractors and manufacturers debated the state of marketing and business development in the UK construction industry. What was very noticeable was the apparent lack of understanding of the meaning of marketing, selling, branding etc. and how these could be integrated with overall business and project planning in construction.
Increasing interest in marketing and selling as distinct management fields has led to quite a number of attempts in applying definitions and concepts developed in other industrial and commercial sectors to construction. Hedley Smyth has produced a well structured book which pulls together the published research carried out to date in the subject area together with over forty industrial case studies which help to illustrate many of the concepts outlined.
Despite the espoused aims, the book is not "pioneering". Earlier work by Norman Fisher, for example, really established the subject of marketing in the construction industry. Hedley Smyth's text does, however, provide an up-to-date review of current thinking and presents the results of the limited research carried out over the last decade. The book has many objectives targeted at a very broad readership. It seeks to develop dynamic strategies for guiding companies in their marketing and sales. It demonstrates that marketing and sales activities should be integrated and that the selling function can be harnessed for market research and the development of more effective strategic marketing.
Amongst many other things, the book explores what are described as "two theoretcial approaches", the marketing mix and relationship marketing. Hedley Smyth seems to suggest that these are somehow separate and competing theories. I would argue that the marketiing mix is a useful strategic tool which requires adaptation to the needs of service and busines-to-business applications. Relationship marketing is an overall approach which rightly places great emphsis on the "people" element of the mix and is most appropriate in the construction sector. Clients have increasingly been found to buy "people". They are looking for longterm relationships and partnerships with those they can trust.
Hedley Smyth's book, as he rightly indicates, is "a beginning, not an end". It provides a clear outline of what marketing is and how it has evolved, generally and more specifically in the construction sector. It should be essential reading for all involved in construction marketing - and that means just about everyone!