Eating elephants

Jun 03, 2019

The best way to do it is one bite at a time. The same can be said of your marketing plan.

Marketing and business development require patience and consistency, especially in the AEC industry. Architects, engineers, and contractors have long lead times when it comes to these two areas. When a successful, consistent marketing and business development plan is written and implemented, the sales cycle is shortened, yes – but it still requires a great deal of patience and consistency.

There is no typical sales cycle for the design and construction industry. Some projects come to completion in six months while others can take 10 years. Your relationships are the important piece to this, and consistently staying in touch with past clients and current prospects is key. If you’ve targeted prospects, set up touch points throughout your marketing plan, and build these relationships, then the projects will come. Don’t sit back and wait – take steps every day to bring in the work. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time! Nothing valuable happens overnight. You are always setting up your firm for future success.

Having patience and consistency for your marketing and business development efforts to come together is easier said than done. You probably get distracted by many things in your business: customer calls, finishing up a set of drawings, insurance issues, and personal matters. Oh, and let’s not forget the daily firefighting that occurs in every business outside of the ones mentioned. You might put marketing and business development at the bottom of your priority list when it should be toward the top. Work on your plan, be patient, and be consistent.

If you have strategized with your team and assembled a great plan, then implement it, keep everyone accountable, and measure your success. Plan the work and work the plan! Measure your results and make sure you’re continually evaluating what you are doing. Make sure you are investing time, money, and resources in the right places. Then take a big gulp of patience to see you through to the fruits of your labor.

Lindsay Young is the founder of nu marketing and is celebrating five years in business! She 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.