Big and nimble

Jan 09, 2017

Philadelphia firm undertakes huge effort to improve CRM, update brand, and otherwise remain ahead of the curve.

For Pennoni (Hot Firm #48 for 2016) marketing “success” can be viewed in a variety of ways – the quantity and monetary value of proposals won, the number of client meetings scheduled, the frequency of our Facebook page likes, our press release hit rate, or the amount of business cards collected at a conference or tradeshow. No single form of measurement is wrong or right. To truly measure success, we must “calculate” using all such factors, and more. And to truly be successful, it takes attention and effort in all such areas. Not all firms tackle marketing the same; it’s our collective effort and promise to seek innovative approaches and disband those that no longer work that helps Pennoni continue its path to success.

Client and business development. In 2016, Pennoni adopted a new and improved CRM system, or customer relationship management. This was a tough sell for the firm, as the latest rollout is the fourth in the firm’s history. After a year and a half of site construction, focus groups, consultation, data migration, and training, the system is now in place and has been integrated across our business practices. Through the adoption of CRM, Pennoni is taking a step toward performance optimization and towards maintaining client relationships. The capabilities of this system have proven to increase margins through providing business development efficiencies, better pipeline management, accurate sales predictions, and a clearer view of the market.

Proposals. We understand the importance of proposals to the AEC industry. Proposals are an opportunity for firms to best demonstrate their qualifications and experience. This demonstration is deeper than the staff proposed and clients listed. Proposals are a platform to demonstrate creativity, innovation, and a commitment to an ever-evolving industry. This past year, Pennoni underwent a companywide brand re-fresh, which included a new company logo, color palette, font type kit, and layout for all proposal material. In addition, a new and improved CRM system was adopted, which is used to track the proposal process, from lead identification, through shortlist, and award. Pennoni’s proposal process and documents represent a new streamlined process and a commitment to evolution.

Promotional activity. As a result of Pennoni’s brand refresh, which began its rollout in 2015, the firm has launched a new and improved website, redesigned its quarterly newsletter, restructured its company intranet, and has increased its presence on social media. Pennoni’s Marketing group reevaluated its marketing efforts, with the understanding that our audience spans potential clients, teaming partners, and possible staff.

For example, our old website had more than 500 pages, which is entirely too many for any one person to navigate. The trend today is to have a website that is clean and concise; end-users want to get on, find basic information, and then contact us to learn more.

The new site was designed with all audiences in mind: clients, teaming partners, competitors, and existing and potential staff. The redesigned site is in line with our company-wide refresh, lending itself to provide our professional qualifications and experience in a simple, clear, and understated way. The improved accessibility and navigability allows site visitors to readily locate the information they seek.

Because Pennoni is about people, we’ve designed the site into three primary domains:

  1. Who We Are, which highlights our tremendous leadership team, provides the firm’s latest announcements, and details our prestigious Ellipse Award.
  2. What We Do, which breaks down our Service and Market capabilities, and provides links through project Profiles to best demonstrate our multidisciplinary offerings.
  3. Work Here, which provides instant access to our job postings and gives details regarding the employment benefits that Pennoni offers.

In addition to these three areas, social media buttons make the site easily shared with colleagues, clients, family, and friends.

Our brand refresh truly represents Pennoni, as an ever-changing firm open to opportunities to innovate and make a difference.

Joseph Viscuso is Pennoni’s senior vice president and director of strategic growth. He can be reached at

About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.