If you ask me a question, I may tell you everything I know about the subject. I love to speak one-on-one or stand up in front of a group of professionals — whether an SMPS chapter or regional event or a workshop for a single firm — and share the information I've accumulated over my 30+ years in A/E marketing.
At the end of April, I had the great opportunity to get in front of the marketing staff of a major regional A/E firm and speak for two whole days on the subject of proposal preparation — from first learning about the project through debriefing and lessons learned. With any luck, I will conduct another two-day workshop on short-list presentations for the same group this fall.
Why do I get such enjoyment out of these sessions?
I hate to see people reinventing the wheel. If something in my experience can help young marketing professionals learn new skills or hone existing skills, I feel an obligation to share the information. Especially since there are so few colleges with courses related to the marketing of professional services.
Because there are so few places to learn our business, I often ask myself: if people like me don't share their knowledge, where will the next generation of A/E marketing managers and directors come from?
An intense program is better. The Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) has some wonderful educational programs covering all facets of the marketing and business development spectrum of activities, at levels ranging from coordinator to director. But I am convinced that a two-day immersion will always be more effective than a series of monthly 1-hour "lunch-and-learn" sessions.
I like to think I am open to new ideas. And young professionals always bring new perspectives and new possibilities—with none of the attached baggage that comes with many older, tried-and-true activities and methods.
I am also reminded of successful older ideas and activities which—for a new audience—might seem like new perspectives and possibilities. Things that worked in the 1970s and 1980 can be updated for today's technology, and will seem like something new to folks who were not in the workplace in the 1970s and 1980s. So past successes can help me look forward.
I have spoken to 11 SMPS chapters and four regional conferences, two AIA chapters and one regional conference, and conferences of the American Water Works Association, American Congress on Surveying and Mapping, Society for Design Administration, Cosential and Deltek user groups, and a number of individual A/E firms. The topics have covered a broad range of A/E industry marketing practices.
I also share what I've learned in webinars for marketing groups in the United States and abroad, as well as by writing for a variety of A/E industry publications. And, of course, there is this blog, which I have been writing for more than 10 years. The blog now has more than 200 posts.
Finally, I am forced to admit that I love to hear myself speak, as much as I like to hear myself sing. Between professional presentations, cabaret and theatre performances, I have spent more than 15,000 hours communicating with a broad range of audiences via a variety of platforms. I wouldn't change this for anything, and hope to continue all of it for many years.