Tuesday, February 25, 2014

8 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Be an A/E Marketing Professional

by David Whitemyer, AIA

A/E marketing isn’t for the faint of heart, lazy, or whiny. It’s fast paced, requires multiple skill sets, and demands flexibility. There’s a reason why most A/E marketing professionals only last a few years in each firm: they’re just not ready for the speed and heavy workload. Are you ready? Here are eight reasons why you might want to rethink your A/E marketing career.

1. You’re introverted.

Whether your focus is in business development or proposal presentation, your position requires frequent communication with others, good social skills, and an outgoing personality. If you’re introverted, you’re not going to be making the connections you need to be making, and you’re not going to be the bubbly person that others enjoy working with.

2. You think that no one appreciates you.

If you’re the kind of person that needs frequent praise, A/E marketing isn’t the place for you. Your skills are very different than those of the architects and engineers that surround you, and they’re essential to a firm’s marketing efforts, but it’s the architecture and engineering skills on which the firm’s strength is built. If you feel underappreciated, get over it.

3. You’re hoping for a bigger budget and more staff.

A/E marketing is typically an underfunded segment of a firm’s spending. Keep in mind that it’s only been since the 1980s that marketing departments in A/E firms have become a more standard practice, yet still, according to PSMJ’s 2013 A/E Financial Performance Benchmark Survey Report, nearly half of A/E firms don’t have full-time marketing staff.

4. You don’t have a thick skin.

Following on the backs of the three previous items. A/E marketing professionals have to “go with the flow.” You’re not going to get everything you want (i.e. bigger budget, more time, etc.), and you’re going to have to deal with a range of personality types – some quite annoying. If you have a thin skin and a lot of things bother you, A/E marketing isn’t the place for you.

5. You’re stuck in the old ways of doing things.

Believing that “this is the way we’ve always done it” just isn’t going to cut it in 21st century A/E marketing. From social media to paperless proposals to new ways of networking and finding work, changes in B2B marketing are happening at lighting speed. If you’re stuck in your ways and not willing to learn about and embrace new things, you won’t succeed in A/E marketing.

6. You’re too rigid.

If you’re a strong A/E marketing professional, you’ve got a good handle on the schedules and tasks required to develop solid proposals and presentations. However, the reality of these schedules and tasks is that they’re probably going to change during the process – and probably at the last minute. You need to be flexible and willing to make changes when necessary.

7. You’re content.

This rings true for any professional career position. As an A/E marketer, you should always be striving to learn more, to improve your firm’s position, and to develop tools and ideas that strengthen your marketing efforts. If you’re simply just doing your job and filling out your timesheets, you may want to consider a new career. Contentment is not a strength.

8. You’re focused on your career more than on your firm.

A/E marketing professionals are notorious ladder climbers, jumping from firm to firm, looking to up their titles and salaries. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it shouldn’t be the sole focus of your work. Your efforts should be spend building the reputation and marketing materials of your firm, not of yourself. And if done well, you can find great enjoyment in that.

David Whitemyer, AIA, is a Contributing Editor at PSMJ Resources, Inc., a licensed architect, and project manager at a Boston-area design firm. He can be reached at dwhitemyer@psmj.com

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