Monday, May 13, 2013

Control Your Marketing

There is a lack of management control in many facets of A/E firm marketing. Following are five areas needing closer direction if your marketing strategy is to bring results.

1. The cost of proposals. Does your firm adequately measure proposal cost as a percentage of gross fee on the anticipated project? Also, do you gauge your potential success in securing the project? Many firms prepare proposal after proposal for projects they have no right to pursue.

2. Charges to marketing by technical personnel. Does your marketing director adequately measure the amount of time technical personnel charge to marketing? In many firms, marketing becomes a “dump-all” for people who take someone to lunch or otherwise pretend to expend marketing effort. Your marketing director should answer for all charges to marketing time.

3. General entertainment. One of the hardest marketing areas to manage, this category can become a catch-all for club dues, general lunches, office parties, Christmas celebrations, and other events that fit into no other pigeon hole.

Ask yourself if your firm’s marketing director really has a handle on general entertainment expense and whether he or she has the authority to manage it adequately.

4. Presentation tools. How much has your firm invested in brochures, Web sites, PowerPoint presentations, AV equipment, handouts, business cards, and other marketing media in the past five years? What percentage of your overall budget does this expenditure constitute? Is your return on investment adequate?

Many design firms spend thousands of dollars on materials they later toss out because of uncoordinated graphics or inadequate testing prior to purchase.

5. The marketing plan. Many such a plan turns out to be a pie-in-the-sky vision statement the firm “hopes” to pursue. Ask yourself if your marketing plan has “teeth.” Does each objective link clearly defined tasks to specific individuals? Is each task budgeted with a specific dollar amount and time frame?

Is there someone in your firm whose entire raison d’etre is to successfully manage your marketing schedule and finances? Don’t let your marketing plan be a blue-sky wish list. Give it a schedule and budget, and make someone responsible for carrying it through.

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