I have been working in the A/E/C industry since 1978, and in a marketing role for most of those years. When I first joined the industry, there was no degree program in professional services marketing anywhere in the United States.
To the best of my knowledge, there still isn't!
However, there ARE a few universities with one or two professional services marketing courses in their marketing department.
There are organizations like SMPS, ZweigWhite, PSMJ and others that offer training and/or continuing education courses in various aspects of professional services marketing.
There are individuals like Sally Handley and Christine Hollinden, and LinkedIn Groups like Design and Construction Network that offer webinars on a wide range of marketing-related topics.
Finally, there are business books, lots of business books, thousands of business books. I am currently I'm about 75 pages into "Twitter for Dummies." I still have difficulty wrapping my mind around how messages limited to 140 characters adding up to conversation, but I'm determined to learn how this new technology (OK, it's 5+ years old) works and how I can put it to work for my business.
I have always thought that the only real benefit of Twitter would be to drive traffic to my website or some other landing place. But the book promises that it can be so much more than that. Unfortunately, the book doesn't address business usage until many chapters have gone by.
So I am working my way slowly through the book, trying to understand everything the authors present, to get an idea of Twitter's potential for my business before I join and try to come up with a name. I don't want to be there just because "everyone else is!" But I'd like to learn what Twitter can do for my firm if I make the most of it, and how to do that.
I try to join a webinar almost every month. Sometimes I give webinars. Teaching is a great way to keep learning. Last year I gave a series of webinars for a business group in India. This was a particularly rewarding activity and a great learning tool for me because the ensuing conversations were cross-cultural. Since different cultures have different ways of doing business, this was a great learning experience for me. I hope to do this again in 2013, with an expanded array of topics.
I read and write blogs. And I'm active in a professional listserve. I love it when blog or listserve posts lead to questions, which then become conversations. In fact, I often respond to a listserve question by calling the person who asked the question. I learn so much from people when I try to provide information to them. It's always turns out to be worth the investment in time because the return in new knowledge, or new perspectives on and applications of old knowledge, is always valuable.
I believe that every strong relationship has a component of learning/teaching, and that learning is a big benefit that comes from every relationship. You don't have to know more than I do; you just have to know one thing I don't. That makes you, and the relationship, valuable to me.
In 2013, if business continues to pick up the way it has the first quarter of the year, I'd like to attend the SMPS University Leadership Advancement Program. This looks like a great opportunity for learning, business networking and making long-lasting friends.
I was 62 on my last birthday. Every time I come out of a class with new knowledge, or finish a book knowing something I didn't know before I started, I congratulate myself on having proven that YOU CAN teach an old dog a new trick! x
"Bats on the Mooove"
(Austin downtown cow art collection)