by Karen Davis Burton
In his book, The New Competitiveness in Design and Construction, Joe M. Powell asserts that market prominence belongs to companies that consistently and repetitively do the right things to promote name and expertise recognition and preferential competitive treatment (translation: skip the RFQs and go directly to the
A successful marketing and public relations strategy can position your company as the go-to firm for your market segment. Even smaller AEC firms with modest marketing budgets can make the right impact on their target audience by promoting project achievements, project delivery methods, use of new technology, and successful collaborations.
Develop your plan. Determine which marketing and PR strategies will fit in your budget and which you have time to implement effectively. Research your prospects, determine how your services align with their business goals, and decide the most effective way to reach them.
Point people in the right direction. All of your communications should encourage your prospects, the media, and collaborators to interact with you: a call-to-action on your website, an e-mail, a social media comment, a phone conversation, or a meeting. But remember, one touch may not trigger a response. Perseverance and repetitiveness keep you top of mind.
Write, post, and speak. New projects, awards, employee promotions, and corporate-sponsored events are all newsworthy, but expert articles, case studies, white papers and speaking engagements position you as an authority in your niche market. Spend some time determining the proper distribution outlets for each.
Use social media to give your news traction. Use new media outlets to give extra legs to your traditional marketing efforts. Links to your articles, news releases, and announcements can be shared easily on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and AEC specific sites. Design and construction media professional frequent social media sites for story ideas:
"The vast majority of our new leads for stories come from Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Once Architect has the lead, we still do traditional reporting on the topic, but social media has quickly become our go to source for new ideas." - Katie Gerfen, Senior Editor, Architect magazine at SMPS SF Meet the Press 2011
Check your work. Be sure to periodically perform a review of your marketing and PR activities over the previous year. Note which ones give you the best return on time invested and revise your plan as necessary.