Editorial: ‘Marketing in Today’s World’

Jan 18, 2013

This article first appeared in The Zweig Letter (ISSN 1068-1310) Issue # 991 Originally published 1/21/2013 Get going on the five items Mark Zweig shares below. Marketing in the A/E/P and environmental consulting world – or the world as a whole – is not like it used to be. Times have changed! But so many companies in our business still don’t get it. They’re doing the same things they used to do and wondering why it doesn’t work. Look at architects, for example. The AIA recently announced that billings at the typical architecture firm decreased by 40 percent from 2009 to 2012! That’s horrific and on a parallel track with video rental stores. So if you’re tired of the situation and want to break out of the rut in 2013, here are some things you should be doing: 1) Add names (good names of people who can buy or influence the decision to buy your services) to your marketing database. And get email addresses! If you have 10,000 names, bump up your list to 50,000. If you have 50,000 names, increase your list to 250,000. Harvest all the names in your employee Outlook directories. Rent lists. Buy lists. Hire interns to find names and addresses and add them to your list. Publish the size of your list internally and drive the numbers up. It is all about scale and probabilities. Make them work in your favor! 2) Get assistance from an outside company knowledgeable about email marketing. You don’t want to be “blacklisted” as spammers and then your regular emails may not even get through to clients. The experts and the providers they’ll use to distribute your marketing messages know how to avoid this. I don’t understand it all myself but I know that what they do won’t break you and e-marketing will still be a whole lot more cost-effective than direct mail. 3) Send out lots of emails. You are going to be emailing to these people relentlessly – perhaps two- to five times a week – with helpful information. It works. News events, news on your company, photos from the field, legal updates, funding sources for projects, meeting invitations, conference reports, original research data, etc., etc. There’s no one formula for this stuff. It has to change constantly. Make whatever you send brief though, with attention-grabbing subject lines or… “Delete!” 4) Overhaul your website. This is the first place potential clients go to learn about you. Make it simple, clear and easy to understand what you do. Make it easy for people to find out where to contact you on your site. And make sure you do the SEO stuff (search engine optimization) so when someone googles a topic relevant to your firm’s expertise your name pops up early on the list. Again – get outside help here for site design (possibly) but most definitely for SEO. There are a zillion providers doing this stuff. 5) Create a culture of responsiveness. When clients respond to your e-marketing or “click here for more information,” you need to be absolutely sure no one waits more than MINUTES to hear back from you. Everything today is moving at an accelerated pace. Like it or not you can acknowledge it and adjust the way you are doing things or you will be a victim of this changing economy. It is a brutal environment we’re in. I don’t want to see you – my friends – suffer. I do like to see you being successful and happy. That’s why I am touring the country with my new and constantly evolving “Marketing in Today’s World” seminar. Maybe I will see you in San Diego in early February? But even if not, get going on the five items above. Time’s wasting and the longer you wait the harder it will be to catch up. Mark Zweig is the chairman and CEO of ZweigWhite. Contact him with questions or comments at mzweig@zweigwhite.com

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.