Product development, innovation and the product life cycle
A Portakabin case study

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Page 2: The importance of marketing

Portakabin 18 Image 2Marketing is a central function in any business. Marketing involves getting the right product at the right price, promoted using the right messages/media and sold in the right place (the 4 Ps). At the core of effective marketing is the requirement to satisfy customers’ needs precisely. The closer the marketing mix of product, price, place and promotion are to customer requirements, the more likely it is that a business will be successful.

In the modular construction market Portakabin customers range from small businesses needing to hire a small short-term building for a few weeks, to the construction of large, permanent multi-storey offices. The marketing department has to determine what customers need now and anticipate future needs in order to design appropriate products to meet these needs. This involves technical research and development as well as market research.

The building industry is very competitive. Portakabin has managed to remain at the head of the modular buildings market through its efficient marketing strategies. Portakabin competes both with rival businesses in the modular buildings market and those building with traditional materials such as bricks and mortar. This means that Portakabin must keep up-to-date with changes in the building industry to remain competitive.


Portakabin 18 Image 4Whilst Portakabin prides itself on the quality of its buildings and spends time developing the products, it does not take a solely product-orientated approach to its marketing. Product-orientated businesses tend to develop new products to the highest standard and then promote and sell those products to as many customers as it can find. A market-orientated business, however, uses market research to find out what customers want and need now and in the future. It then designs and produces products to meet these needs.

Market-orientation provides many benefits to a business. It lessens risk as you already know that customers want the benefits your product and service provides. Portakabin focuses heavily on developing buildings and materials that suit specific customer requirements. It employs highly skilled and qualified technicians to manufacture its top quality buildings. For instance, when building a hospital ward, the customer wanted the cabling and fibre optics for the equipment to be built into the fabric of the building, along with insulation to minimise heat loss and improve energy efficiency. Portakabin developed materials and constructed pre-fabricated walls in its factories to fulfil these specific needs.

Whilst all of the elements of the marketing mix are important, the product aspect will be the focus for the remainder of this case.

Portakabin | Product development, innovation and the product life cycle