Archive for August, 2009

Social Media as a Marketing Tool

web20logosFrank Casale of The Outsourcing Institute sent me a great Wall Street Journal article this weekend entitled “How Facebook Ruins Friendships.” It was informative and humorous, but what I found most interesting were the social media tools at the bottom of the page: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Digg, etc…  While it is ironic that an article making fun of social media tools would have them embedded in the article, it is a sign of the times. Today it seems that everyone, even the Wall Street Journal, recognizes the effectiveness of social media as a marketing tool.

We use Eventbrite to promote the Design and Construction Network events primarily because no other event registration website has such an extensive social media arsenal. Even Cofebuz now has a “tweet this post” link at the bottom of every article, and many of our most involved readers are from LinkedIn article referrals.

Social Media as a Marketing Tool

So we all get it, social media is powerful. But the real question is how to capture social media as a marketing tool. Let me give you the four secrets that I have found effective in turning the web into a powerful marketing tool. I’m certain many of you have your own insights as well so feel free to use the comments section at the end to add them.

Four secrets to turning social media into a marketing tool:

  1. Social media works when real value has been created – Try posting a tweet about last week’s weather and see how many people retweet it or reply. Start a blog about your journey selecting carpet color for your home and see how many people sign-up for your e-mail updates. The same is true for your company, make certain what you write creates value for others and they will be drawn to the value you are providing.
  2. Social media works when it isn’t selfish – Ever been turned off by a salesman that told you they really needed a sale because of XYZ reason? Online those that are selfish generally lose and those that are selfless typically win.
  3. Social media works when you can create a “buzz” – If you have successfully achieved the first two social media secrets you are positioned for creating a buzz, known as viral marketing. Viral marketing is the idea that others, even people you don’t know, will promote your idea for you because they think it deserves recognition and attention. The results? The greatest return you’ll ever see for your marketing dollar.
  4. Social media works when you have friends – Frank Casale (the individual that sent me the article above) is not only the CEO of one of the largest outsourcing associations in the world, he also has focused on building amazing friendships. I have found that real success comes not when someone pushes to achieve their own dreams, but when we push together to achieve our dreams. At a minimum, we have people to enjoy the journey with and to toast when we reach the top.
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2009 Marketing S&E Survey Executive Summary

smps-logoThis past week Michele Santiago of the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) forwarded me the executive summary of the 2009 Marketing S&E Survey as released by the SMPS Foundation. Looking it over I found a wealth of information and I wanted to share the highlights with you. Also, with Michele’s permission, I have posted a copy of the complete executive summary under the “resources” tab here on Cofebuz. I hope you find the information as interesting and as helpful as I did!

Summary of the Executive Summary

In the Design and Construction Industry:

  • Offices spent an average of 8.0% of their 2008 net revenues on marketing.
  • On average 4% of a companies workforce is involved in marketing full time.
  • An additional 10% of company personnel are involved in the marketing process, just not as their primary job.
  • About two-thirds of offices (63%) reported that there was no change in the number of their marketing-related employees in 2008 compared to 2007.
  • Among the offices reporting a change in the number of marketing related employees: 22% reported an increase and 14% reported a decrease in 2008.
  • When asked to look ahead to 2009 82% of offices indicated the number of marketing-related employees will stay about the same. 10% thought there would be an increase and 6% predicted a decrease.
  • Marketers’ mean age is 38.6. Females are the majority in the built and natural environment field, outnumbering males by a ratio of four-to-one.
  • More than four in five marketers (83%) have obtained a four-year college degree, including 16% who hold a graduate degree. (I would like to know how many have a marketing degree, at a SMPS VA conference last year it was less than 35%)
  • More than one in three marketers (36%) have formal design and construction technical training such as engineering or architecture.
  • Average marketing expenses breakdown: 36.4% on compensation and fringe benefits for marketing personnel, 32.4% on Business development, 15% for promotion (advertising etc…), and 6.4% on  planning and research (business/marketing plans, competitors, etc.).

As noted above, if you would like to read the complete executive summary, simply go to resources and look for “SMPS 2009 Marketing S&E Survey Executive Summary.” If you would like to read the full report, the information on how to obtain it is available in the last page of the executive summary.

Something about all of us

business-relationshipsToday the Design and Construction Network will break 1,800 members, our expansion into Philadelphia for the next networking event is already exceeding expectations, and to date over 500 people that have attended our networking events in Washington DC. It leaves me wondering how it is that the network has experienced such incredible growth.

Something about all of us

I am not alone when I say that, when it comes down to it, I just want to be myself. I want to laugh with friends, experience the ups and downs of life, and leave the world a better place than I left it. I have found more value in relationships than in money, and more monetary profit in building friendships than in making a sale.

Actually, not only do I think I am not alone in these thoughts, I believe that I am in the majority. Yet somehow in business many of us seem to have gotten off track; we have traded relationships for things of lesser value.  We often know that the best results are found in the long-term, but find it difficult when we see the immediate results of others that are focused on short-term success.

Back to the network, back to you.

The Design and Construction Network isn’t a success because of me, it is a success because of great people like Mark Buckshon, Matt Handal, Melissa Allen, Deborah Hayward, Kevin Smith, (the list truly goes on and on) that believe in building long-term relationships, not just creating value for themselves (note that I did not exclude it being of value for them also, I personally believe and hope that each of these people receive a ten fold return from the network). They are great people that simply want to be themselves, to help others, and to laugh with friends. Success is being born simply by bringing these types of people together and building positive momentum towards a shared goal of building relationships.

Your turn

This week it is your turn, to be yourself. To get back to the passions that brought you to where you are at today, to laugh with friends this week, to experience the ups and downs of life, and leave the world a better place than you left it. I hope this week that you experience the long-term gain of helping your friends and building some new relationships.

Marketing Handbook

MarketingHandbookFollowing up from last week’s post Moments several of you have asked about the book I mentioned. The book is called the Marketing Handbook and it is a multi-author book on marketing professional services published by BNI Building News. I wrote the section of the book on Client Relationship Management and lead tracking. If you are working in the design and construction industry let me encourage you to pick-up a copy.

Over the past several weeks I have enjoyed reading several great articles in the blogosphere, so this week I wanted to share some of my favorites with you:

Not Everybody has to Like You
Valerie Conyngham from The Cecil Group writes a great post about what it takes to win work in a down economy. My favorite part of the article is a discussion on the problems that can occur when a firms’ mantra changes from “from niche, niche, niche to diversify, diversify, diversify.” 

How important is it to be first on Google?
Mark Buckshon of Construction News and Report shares a great chart that denotes the percentage of clicks that you will receive based on your location in Google search results. I’ll tell you here that the first position gets clicked on 56.36% of the time. Do you know what your chances are of being clicked on if you are in the third position?

Networking for Success
Mel Lester of the Business Edge discusses key principals of networking that everyone should know. I especially agree with his belief that networking shouldn’t be all about selling, rather about building relationships.

The Dull Edge of Experience
How do our clients define experience? Bruce of PSMJ Resources considers how you would feel about selecting a physician if they had “performed the operation you needed 27 years ago.” He then uses this as an analogy for how to win work based on your individual or firm experience.