More on Marketing During a Recession

3 tips from How to Weather the Storm from's marketing blog. See Marketing


8 Ways to Stay Marketing-Minded During a Recession

By Karen A. Davis

Okay, I admit it. Although I am typically quite optimistic, some days, this economy can really get me down. The building industry has taken a big hit in this recession we’re in. But, we know with time, this season of crisis will pass.

So if projects in your office have slowed or if you’ve been laid-off, continue to work toward your goals, develop and review your personal and professional marketing objectives, and stay in top shape – physically, mentally and work-wise – so you’re ready for those new projects and deals coming your way.

1. Stay on a regular work schedule. Wake up as if you have a number of clients to keep happy at the office. It’s easy to sleep in for a while and treat your first few days (or weeks) as a vacation, but you must remain on task: continuing to look for new projects or a new position.

2. Don’t isolate yourself. Make regular appointments to meet with colleagues to discuss job and project possibilities. If you’re a designer, or if you specify products, make regular showroom visits to stay current.

3. Boost your ego. Make a list of all of your skills and qualifications, even if they are not directly related to your profession or the services you currently offer. Next, develop a plan to articulate how these skill sets can benefit others. When you’re going after that next job or project, you don’t want to go in with the attitude, “How can you help me?” rather “How can I help you?”

4. Learn new skills. Download free software such as Google SketchUp. Or locate live classes for other interests through or other social networking sites.

5. Write about the things you know on a blog, whether it’s your profession or a hobby. Include a link to your site as part of your e-mail signature.

6. Take advantage of free education. Many trade publication sites offer free webinars, training videos, and articles for continuing education units.

7. Explore all the possibilities. What’s your passion? If you were not in your current profession what would you do? Determine how you can relate what you really love to what you do for a living.

8. Volunteer. Nothing can make you forget about your temporary troubles quicker than helping someone else. Teaching a student math or a construction skill, or building a house with Habitat for Humanity can benefit your community as well as your resume.

A recessive economy doesn’t have to mean idle time. Create a job for yourself and become the building industry professional you aspire to be.

© Copyright – Karen A. Davis. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.


Marketing Lessons Learned from the 2008 Campaigns

By Karen A. Davis

Regardless of whether you voted Democrat or Republican in this week’s election, you’d have to agree that the political campaigns of both major parties could give us semesters worth of information about marketing. Through television ads, e-mail and viral marketing, campaign speeches and debates, the candidates aimed to sell you on their brand and ideas, hoping to seal the deal on November 4th. Here are four marketing lessons of the campaigns:

1. Tell your story. The candidates gave you their personal information, and how they came to run for office. Followers responded to John McCain’s military service, Barack Obama’s family history, Sarah Palin as hockey mom, and Joe Biden riding the train to and from Washington every day. Their resumes and life stories came out early and were repeated often.

In this increasingly connected world, we are learning more and more about each other. Through social networking sites, blogs and websites, you have the opportunity to tell your personal and professional story. Let your current and prospective clients know who you are and why you chose your profession or started your business. Be clear about the services you offer and those you don’t, developing your own professional platform. Just as a candidate would in a campaign ad, let them know what you do best. (See if you can do it in 30 seconds!) But most of all, let clients know how your skills and services will benefit them.

2. Become the solution. Obama offered change from typical Washington politics; McCain claimed to be a maverick, breaking rank with his political party for the greater good. Marketers call this the Unique Selling Proposition: how your client’s life, business, or project will improve if they choose you. Let them know what you offer that your competition doesn’t. Differentiate your business, and when they hire you, stay true to your promise.

3. Become a community organizer. Build a network of friends who believes in you and your business and will work on your behalf. Your community includes employees, colleagues, friends, and clients. Listen to their story, show them that what you have to offer is the solution to their problem (or the problem of someone they know), and they will be happy to spread your good name. As we know, word of mouth is the best form of advertising. The candidates had thousands of volunteers knocking on doors, making phone calls, attending rallies, wearing buttons and t-shirts, and posting signs.

4. Tell your story to the world. In 2008, it’s so much easier. You don’t need to pay for television or radio advertising, unless that’s where your audience is. You can utilize the Internet and wireless devices to spread your story inexpensively and build relationships. Use frequent e-mails to update clients on your company’s employees, services and projects (remember to give them a way to unsubscribe). Use a blog to link to your favorite articles or post your ideas on current industry trends. And by becoming active on social networking sites, your friends and connections can link you with theirs, thereby giving you those hundreds or thousands of volunteers who will spread your name. Just think, Obama even used text messaging to announce his Vice-Presidential candidate in the middle of the night, and it made those who subscribed feel important.

By studying the marketing strategies of an unrelated industry, you may discover new approaches not being used by your competition. Your best marketing ideas may come from the least likely places, even political campaigns.

© Copyright – Karen A. Davis. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.


Networking through the End of the Year

There are still contacts- and lead-generating events happening through the end of the year. Meeting, conferences and conventions through December include:

November.02 - American Concrete Institute's Fall Convention (St. Louis, MO)

November.03 - Big Builder '08 (Washington, DC)

November.04 - DEADLINE FOR ENTRY: Residential Architect Design 09 Awards

November.05 - Worship Facilities Conference & Expo (Houston, TX)

November.05 - Women's Council of Realtors National Conference (Orlando, FL)

November.06 - RealShare Westchester & Fairfield Counties (White Plains, NY)

November.06 - Transport Summit - Congress for the New Urbanism (Charlotte, NC)

November.07 - Hospitality Design Owner's Roundtable (New York, NY)

November.07 - AIAS Northeast Quad Fall Conference (American Institute of Architecture Students) (Toronto, ON)

November.07 - AIAS Midwest Quad Fall Conference (American Institute of Architecture Students) (Kansas City, MO)

November.09 - Business Facilities Live Xchange (Huntington Beach, CA)

November.09 - TFM Forum - Today's Facility Manager (Huntington Beach, CA)

November.12 - Smarter Asset Management (Orlando, FL)

November.12 - ArchLED '08: LED Lighting for the Built Environment (Chicago, IL)

November.12 - Hazardous Waste Combustors Conference & Exhibition (Galveston, TX)

November.13 - RealShare Dallas (Dallas, TX)

November.13 - RealShare Medical Office Buildings (Dallas, TX)

November.14 - CPN's New York Investment Series (New York, NY)

November.17 - CPN's Washington D.C. Property Opportunities (Washington, DC)

November.19 - RealShare Industrial West (Long Beach, CA)

November.19 - 2008 NAREIT Annual Convention - National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (San Diego, CA)

November.19 - GreenBuild International Conference & Expo (USGBC) (Boston, MA)

December.03 - RealShare Orange County (Irvine, CA)

December.08 - Reinvention 2008: Designing for the Future (Austin, TX)

December.08 - EcoBuild and AEC-ST Fall (Washington, DC)

December.10 - Deadline for Entry - National C.L.E.A.N. Awards

December.10 - Construction SuperConference 08 (San Francisco, CA)

December.29 - American Institute of Architecture Students Forum (Denver, CO)

Networking Opportunities - October 15 - 31

October.15 - RealShare San Francisco (San Francisco, CA)

October.15 - 22nd Annual University of Michigan-Urban Land Institute Real Estate Forum (Grand Rapids, MI)

October.15 - IFMA World Workplace 2008 Conference & Expo (Dallas, TX)

October.15 - Commercial Real Estate Women Convention (Houston, TX)

October.15 - StonExpo 2008 (Las Vegas, NV)

October.15 - Marble Institute of America Annual Meeting (Las Vegas, NV)

October.16 - RealShare Central Florida (Kissimmee, FL)

October.16 - RealShare New Jersey (Teaneck, NJ)

October.16 - ACADIA 2008: Silicon + Skin (Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture) (Minneapolis, MN)

October.17 - CCIM & IREM Success Series 2008 (Chicago, IL)

October.17 - AIAS South Quad Fall Conference (American Institute of Architecture Students) (New Orleans, LA)

October.19 - International Economic Development Council (Atlanta, GA)

October.19 - National Design Week

October.20 - North American Port & Intermodal Finance & Investment Summit (Houston, TX)

October.20 - Development '08: The Annual Conference for Commercial Real Estate (Las Vegas, NV)

October.21 - Industrial Fabrics Association International Expo (Charlotte, NC)

October.21 - National Trust for Historic Preservation - Preservation Conference (Tulsa, OK)

October.22 - DEADLINE FOR ENTRY - Real Estate Florida: Women of Influence (, )

October.22 - Professional Grounds Management Society School of Grounds Management & GIE Expo (Louisville, KY)

October.22 - Wood Products Manufacturers Association 2008 Annual Meeting (Portland, ME)

October.24 - Custom Builder Symposium (Austin, TX)

October.24 - AIAS West Quad Fall Conference (American Institute of Architecture Students) (Tucson, AZ)

October.26 - National Association of Housing & Redevelopment Officials National Conference (San Antonio, TX)

October.27 - Urban Land Institute Fall Meeting (Miami Beach, FL)

October.28 - Smarter Asset Management (San Diego, CA)

October.29 - Sustainable Development, Green Retrofit & Construction Congress (Baltimore, MD)

October.30 - Associated Owners & Developers National Conference East - Miami (Miami, FL)

October.30 - Society of Industrial & Office Realtors Fall World Conference (Minneapolis, MN)

For more events, see the B.I.R. Calendar.

Volunteers Needed in Galveston

The National Trust for Historic Preservations is seeking Architects and Structural Engineers to volunteer to perform structural assessments of historic buildings damaged by Hurricane Ike. Fill out the survey for structural damage assessment teams.


6 Low-cost Ways to Increase Your Marketing Efforts

by Karen A. Davis

Operating a small- to medium-sized building industry business isn’t easy these days. The economy is down, and it seems as though many projects are in a holding pattern, if they’ve started at all.

But you can’t just sit by waiting for the phone to ring. Now is the time to create new strategies for getting your name in front of potential and existing clients, and you don’t have to spend a lot of money to do it. Here are a few ideas:

1. Build relationships. Correspond with clients regularly with an e-mail, postcard, or phone call so your name stays in on the tip of their tongue. You want to be foremost on their mind when a project is in the early stages so they will call you when they are ready to implement the vision.

2. Take on a partner. Contact a colleague you trust who offers complementary services to yours and work together to build business. Share advertising space or swap client lists and give each other a great introduction.

3. Position yourself as an authority. Write an article – or several – for trade magazines. If you’re an architect, try writing one for a construction magazine; there may be less competition. Send those articles to your existing clients so they know you’re an expert, and suggest that they pass the articles on to others who may benefit.

4. No time to write articles? Start an online blog (weblog) and begin to jot down your views on current events and building industry issues and trends. Let your clients know where to find it and how often it will be updated. No excuses; a blog can be started for free.

5. Join online social networking sites. No, they’re not just for kids. According to a recent Detroit Free Press article, nearly half of all Facebook users are 35 and older. Facebook, as well as MySpace, Meetup, Linkedin and many others have professionals that join every minute, and they are looking to connect with people who can help them grow their business, and whom they can help. You can even create your own networking site at

6. Build a website, already. You can create a website with good content for less than $100 per year (not including your editing time). At minimum, list the services your offer, post photos of your most recent projects, and give viewers a reason to contact you.

Marketing doesn’t have to break the budget. Many strategies only require your time and effort. For more tips go to or contact Building Industry Resources for help in implementing these ideas.

© Copyright – Karen A. Davis. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.


What's a Tweet?

Twitter is a microblogging service that allows users to send very short messages (140 characters or less) through the internet or a cell phone text message. Companies are utilizing Twitter to promote their services and to provide other information to their clients. Read Twitter for Business by C.G. Lynch of C.I.O. and respond to a tweet from B.I.R. at


NOMA Conference Begins Today

The 36th International Conference and Exposition of the National Organization of Minority Architects begins today in Washington D.C. and runs through October 4th. There will be workshops and seminars for professionals and students, a jury of professional designs, a student design competition, and an exhibit entitled "2% Women of Color," highlighting that population of the architecture profession.

NOMA's aims and objectives include:

- Fostering communication and fellowship among minority architects;

- Fighting discrimination and other selection policies used by public and private sector clients to unfairly restrict minority architects' participation in design and construction;

- Acting as a clearing house for information and maintaining a roster of practitioners;

- Promoting the design and development of living, working, and recreational environments of the highest quality;

- Speaking with a common voice on public policy;

- Working with local, state, and national governments on issues affecting the physical development of neighborhoods and communities;

- Being an effective source of motivation and inspiration for minority youth.

Visit the NOMA website for more information.


Make Time for Networking - October 1-15

October.01 - Building Component Manufacturers Conference (Denver, CO)

October.01 - METALCON International (Baltimore, MD)

October.02 - RealShare Apartments (Los Angeles, CA)

October.02 - Green Design + Conference (Atlanta, GA)

October.02 - National Organization of Minority Architects Conference (Washington, DC)

October.05 - Professional Builder Benchmark and AVID Leadership Conference (Phoenix, AZ)

October.05 - Women Construction Owners & Executives Mid-Year Meeting (Kansas City, MO)

October.05 - The 33rd Annual Design Management Conference (Ogunquit, ME)

October.07 - Architectural Record Innovation 2008 (New York, NY)

October.11 - Display & Design Ideas Leadership Forum (Las Vegas, NV)

October.11 - International Facility Management Association (IFMA) Fall Symposium (Dallas, TX)

October.12 - Construction Management Association of America National Conference & Trade Show (San Francisco, CA)

October.12 - Society of Fire Protection Engineers Professional Development Conference & Expo (Charlotte, NC)

October.13 - Multifamily Executive Conference (Las Vegas, NV)

October.13 - Solar Power International (San Diego, CA)

October.14 - Institute of Real Estate Management Business and Governance Meetings (Chicago, IL)

October.15 - RealShare San Francisco (San Francisco, CA)

October.15 - 22nd Annual University of Michigan-Urban Land Institute Real Estate Forum (Grand Rapids, MI)

October.15 - IFMA World Workplace 2008 Conference & Expo (Dallas, TX)

October.15 - Commercial Real Estate Women Convention (Houston, TX)

October.15 - StonExpo 2008 (Las Vegas, NV)

October.15 - Marble Institute of America Annual Meeting (Las Vegas, NV)

See the B.I.R. Calendar for more networking opportunities.


5 International Networking Events

Cityscape Dubai - October 6 - 9, 2008
Cityscape Dubai attracts regional and international investors, property developers, governmental and development authorities, leading architects, designers, consultants and all senior professionals involved in the property industry. It provides an annual forum that celebrates the very best in real estate, architecture, urban planning and design from around the world. In 2007, the event welcomed 51,855 professionals from 136 countries. 849 exhibitors showcased their projects and services on 74,240 sqm of exhibition space. (From the Cityscape website)

India Infrastructure Investment Conference - October 7 - 9, 2008
IIA India 2008 is where global investors, financiers and developers meet Indian regulators & infrastructure owners to discuss investment, capital raising & partnership opportunities, & emerging issues of private investment in India infrastructure sectors. Organized By: Terrapinn Pte Ltd. (From SiteNet)

Airports - Catalysts for Economic Development (Kuala Lumpur) - October 14-15, 2008
See website for details.

Cityscape Latin America 2008 - November 4 - 6, 2008
The portfolio of exhibition, conference and seminar of the cityscape Latin America brings together national and international investors, incorporators, builders, government authorities, architects of great prominence, designers, consultants and experienced professionals involved in real estate industry from a unique experience in networking and achievement business. (Translated from the Cityscape website)

MIPIM Asia - November 19 - 21, 2008
Enjoy access to a large range of development projects and funds through an exhibition area of 9,000 m² highlighting offices, retail and the hospitality industry. Join 2,500 of your peers for FREE to establish new contacts and strike those all important deals. Don’t wait, simply contact us to make sure that you are eligible and get your invitation form. (From the MIPIM Asia website)


Let Me Introduce Myself...

My name is Karen A. Davis. For the past 10 years, I’ve freelanced as an architectural designer and provided technical support for architects, developers and contractors. I am privileged to have been on the architectural teams for some very prestigious projects, including corporate facilities, sports and entertainment, healthcare and multi-family residential project types. Most recently, I provided interior design and construction documentation for the largest building project in the U.S. to date.

I love the creative part of architecture, but I’ve found that I also enjoy the business side of the building industry, including marketing, business development, and strategic planning. I love encouraging people to do their best and fulfill their dreams. That’s why I’ve taken on the role as marketing manager, publicist, and business coach to the building industry, particularly for small and medium-sized businesses who typically do not have these services in-house.

I’d love to go on about me, but what about you? I’d like to hear about you and your company.

Is your business all that you’ve dreamed it would be? Do you have the luxury of choosing your projects? Have you formally introduced yourself to potential clients, to the world? Are you taking advantage of the free publicity available to promote your business?

By the way, the first two paragraphs were my “elevator speech.” How I would, and do, introduce myself if I only have a couple of minutes to talk (say, in an elevator). Have you developed your elevator speech yet?