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A vast body of scholarly literature studies what makes organizations that invest heavily in marketing successful or not (Michalski & Helmig, 2008). Key Success Factors (KSFs) vary according to the type of organization, but are generally concentrated around ten elements: (1) a balanced budget; (2) access to sufficient resources (human and material); (3) a contingency plan; (4) experienced managers capable of transparency, control, and equity; (5) human relationships based on trust and involvement; (6) implementation of quality measures and standards; (7) proven work methods and processes; (8) realistic task- and activity schedules; (9) solid infrastructures; and evidently (10) well-defined objectives (Lindner & Wald, 2011).
These elements are present in one way or another in most of the literature on the tactics and strategies of marketing managers involved in carrying out projects (hereafter named “project-oriented marketing organizations” or POMOs (Salunke et al., 2011), of which Apple is a prime example) and in managing day-to-day operations (Savu, 2018).
Project-oriented marketing organizations (POMOs) draw from project management theory – which takes into account the unique, novel, and transient nature of work (Turner & Keegan, 2001) –, and apply it to their marketing efforts. The core concepts of project management include the so-called iron triangle or triple constraint of the calendar of tasks and activities (at times erroneously labeled in the literature as “delays”), budget, and quality norms (at times erroneously confused in the literature with the notion of scope), as well as tools such as risk management techniques and flow charts, like Gantt charts (PMBOK, 2013)…


This article presents Key Consensus Factors (KCFs), i.e., those factors that contribute to mutual trust and effective cooperation among stakeholders in project-oriented marketing organizations (POMOs) that aspire to work together toward success. We extract tentative KCFs using the data percolation methodology, which emphasizes the findings of contrasting cases through research. The results of the 18 semi-structured interviews and two focus groups conducted over four years in two different cultures France and Canada lead us to propose four Key Consensus Factors (KCFs): (1) the establishment of behavioral norms, including mutual listening; (2) the meticulous respect for the triple constraint of the calendar of tasks and activities, costs, and quality; (3) the establishment of a common belief system with a clear goal in mind; and 4) the careful anticipation of unexpected risks. Our paper contributes empirically to discussions about the makeup of KCFs, a topic that has been little addressed in the marketing and project management literature. This paper fills the current gap that exists between the notions of Key Success Factors (KSFs), Key Failure Factors (KFFs) and Key Conensus Factors (KCFs). While countless studies have been conducted on KSFs and KFFs, especially in the project management literature, the literature on KCFs is scarce and, to our knowledge, no research centers on the link between the three sets of factors. Our paper can benefit organizations that engage in significant marketing efforts to carry out projects, as it offers a practical model that can guide their activities toward fruitful relationships among all stakeholders, including with their staff and clients. To that effect, we provide a KCF-based checklist aimed at cohesiveness within project-oriented marketing organizations.

  • well-being at work
  • contingency
  • Japan
  • factorial structure
  • profiles
Olivier Mesly
Olivier Mesly is associate professor at ICN School of Business in Nancy and a visiting professor at the University of Lorraine. He is a member of the European Research Centre for Financial Economics and Business Management (CEREFIGE). Dr Mesly has received the following university degrees: Certificate in voice 2017, University of Sherbrooke, Canada; Postdoctorate fellowship, Arts management, HEC Montréal, 2011; Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) in marketing, Sherbrooke University, Canada, 2010; Master of Business Administration (MBA), Guelph University, Canada, 1999; Diploma in Public relations, McGill University; Canada, 1990, and; Bachelor, East Asian studies, McGill University, with Distinction, Canada, 1989. His research interests include organizational behavior, marketing, finance project feasibility, and psychology. He has written several articles in journals such as Economic Modelling, Journal of Macromarketing, International Journal of project Management, and ten books, two of which in marketing, three on project feasibility, and one on psychological research.
Christophe Réthoré
Christophe Réthoré is Director of the Marketing Department and Associate Professor of Marketing at ICN Business School, Nancy. He is a member of the European Research Centre for Financial Economics and Business Management (CEREFIGE). He has received the following degrees: ESSCA (Ecole supérieure des sciences commerciales d’Angers) 1990, MBA (Master’s of Business Administration), Auburn University (AL, USA) 1991 and PhD Linguistics, UBFC (Université de Bourgogne Franche-Comté) 2017. Christophe Réthoré has a dual background in linguistics/translation and in marketing/communication, as well as a dual professional experience in academia and in the corporate world (former Director of International Market Research in the dental industry). His main research interests are in (automobile) advertising discourse, statistical linguistics, semiotics, rhetoric, market research, sports marketing and healthcare/dental/pharmaceutical marketing.
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