Marketing is everything

May 06, 2019

“Are you missing out on this valuable knowledge in these or any other areas that it is needed? If so, amend your evil ways and make better use of your marketing talent!”

Marketing – while a seemingly simple subject to most of us working in the AEC world – is a widely misunderstood subject. Most people think it’s just about selling work. That means promotion, RFP responses, SOQs, presentations, and the occasional company open house or rebranding. And ultimately, I guess it’s about selling jobs. But there is a lot more that happens in there to make that actually happen.

Here are some other questions that have to be answered that should have marketing input – yet many (if not most) marketing people working in AEC firms never get close to being involved with:

  1. What services does the firm provide in the first place? This is a marketing issue of primary importance. What you sell should be a function of what the marketplace wants and needs – not just what YOU want to do regardless of that. It’s so fundamental but often overlooked. This takes research and study and looking ahead to anticipate client needs all before they actually have them if you want to be able to adapt to a changing market. This is a job for marketing!
  2. Who does the firm have as service providers to specific markets or clients? This is yet another big marketing issue. Whose talents is the firm selling? In many markets the specific individuals who provide professional services are known, and each has a good or bad reputation. Knowing who the good ones are so you can hire them – and who the bad ones are so you can avoid them – can be critical to your success. Getting the right people inside the firm working with the clients they are best suited to serve is important, too. Marketing needs input!
  3. Where does the firm have office locations? What is the design of those offices? Another important marketing decision is this one right here. In some markets, the location of the office is crucial to being able to serve certain specific clients. In other markets, location doesn’t matter at all. And how that office looks can be important to your marketing as well. Some clients want to see a space that looks like one appropriate for a successful professional service provider. Others will be turned off by anything that isn’t bare bones. We need the input of marketing here!
  4. What type of contractual arrangement does the firm use for particular types of work/specific clients, and what prices are set? Contractual arrangements and pricing can have huge impacts on whether or not you will win the job and how profitable it is or isn’t. Marketing is often cut out of these decisions and they are strictly left to the design and production end of the business but they shouldn’t be.
  5. What are policies for work hours, travel reimbursement, and more? These policies can most certainly affect total job cost, not to mention can be big points of contention we don’t want with our clients. Marketing needs to be considered here and give input so client relationships don’t inadvertently suffer.

There are many other areas of your company and decisions that need input from marketing to be handled properly. Are you missing out on this valuable knowledge in these or any other areas that it is needed? If so, amend your evil ways and make better use of your marketing talent!

Mark Zweig is Zweig Group’s chairman and founder. Contact him 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.