Build Business 2008: Marketing the Experience

Marketing the Experience

Speaker: Mel Lester – The Business Edge

Favorite Quote from the Session:
“Marketing should be centered on providing value to potential clients, not inward focused or ‘selling'”

Key Takeaways

  1. Focus on the client, not yourself
  2. Our goal should be to make every encounter with a client or potential client a positive experience
  3. Service is delivering great experiences to the client
  4. The best way to sell is to serve
  5. Marketing should be centered on providing value to potential clients
  6. Don’t underestimate the impact of “service centered” marketing
  7. Service centered selling is focusing on providing value to the client before they ever hire you
  8. Time is your client’s most precious resource, don’t waste it!
  9. Bring something of value to every meeting (including sales meeting) with a existing or potential client
  10. Demonstrate your service, don’t just sell your service

Build Business 2008: How to Shift Perceptions Through Re-branding

How to Shift Perceptions Through Re-branding: A Case Study

Speaker: Howard Wolff, FSMPS – WATG

Favorite Quote from the Session
“Your brand is not what you say it is, it is what they say it is.”

Key Takeaways
Your brand is the perception, over time, of what other people think of your company

The Re-branding Process:

  1. Discovery Phase – Using surveys to learn who your clients and others in the industry think you are. Research your competitors and identify what others in the industry think of them. 
  2. Brand Core – Who do you want to be? Identify your mission, vision, values, and guiding principles.
  3. Invitation – Open the re-branding process to all groups in the company, including shareholders, satellite offices, corporate staff, and employees.
  4. Brand Strategy – How are you going to shift perceptions?
  5. Visual Identity – Company name, logo, colors, etc…
  6. Internal Alignment – Ensure the leadership aligns with the new brand, educate everyone in the company on who the company is going to be in the market.
  7. Launch! – Tell the world, show the world, ensure that clients experience your brand 
  8. Aligned Organization – Reinforce, Reinforce, Reinforce

Build Business 2008: Navigating Uncertain Times

Navigating Uncertain Times: An Executive Briefing on What to Do Now

Speakers:
Randy Pollock, FSMPS – Walter P Moore
Praful Kulkarni, AIA – GKK Corporation
Monica Bell – HDR/CUH2A
Bill Viehman – Perkins + Will
Greg Nook – JE Dunn Construction
(note: speaker names were not provided in the program so I pulled them from Google searches. As a result this information may not be perfect)

Favorite Quote from the Session
“Even optimists have to come to grips with uncertain market conditions.”

Key Takeaways

  1. The speakers were generally optimistic on the market. Overall the feeling was a strong institutional/public sector market, and a weak residential market.  Only limited comments were made on the retail and commercial markets.
  2. In every market condition it is imperative that firms ‘follow the money.’  Research the market to identify future growth sectors and then work to lead in those sectors.
  3. Relationships must be the focus to succeed in this (and every) market.
  4. Prepare for the upturn that is coming through market positioning. Be prepared to take advantage of opportunities, be nimble and ready to react, anticipate the market.
  5. Look to the future and identify the trends that will dictate success: energy crisis, economic changes, and cultural changes are all important to explore.
  6. We are becoming an expertise driven industry; clients are beginning to expect the “A” team on every project.
  7. Trust and Shared Values are two of the top reasons that clients are hiring firms. Clients are looking for more than great design, they are looking for values in the companies that serve them.
  8. Politics: There was a debatable belief that the upcoming elections will not have a major impact on the industry post-election.
  9. Public Private Partnerships (P3) are a wave of the future for the A/E industry.  They represent a new change in how clients want projects to be managed.
  10. Marketing needs to intersect with human resources to develop programs that focus on hiring a new generation of leaders.
  11. Never stop marketing. Firms that do quickly find their backlogs depleted.
  12. Embrace change – with volatility comes opportunity.

Build Business 2008: Building a Company of Rainmakers

I am leaving for Denver Colorado tomorrow to attend this year’s SMPS Build Business 2008 convention. I am going with a refreshing sense of excitement as I look forward to meeting, in person, many new friends that I have made while blogging this past year.  While I am gone it is my intention to “whiteboard” the sessions that I attend on this blog every evening, so if you are unable to attend this year, just stay tuned for the key takeaways from those sessions. 

While at Build Business, I will be speaking at this years CPSM day on the topic of ‘Building a Company of Rainmakers’. I have attached a copy of my PowerPoint presentation to this blog for those that won’t be able to make it, as well as for those that would like to download it after I speak on Wednesday. I have attached two versions: 1) a .pdf handout version of the PowerPoint that is an easy reference tool and 2) a full, editable, and usable copy PowerPoint that you are welcome to download and use for your own purposes.  (As always, please provide credit where credit is due) I look forward to seeing many of you in Denver later this week! 

.pdf – Building a Company of Rain Makers

.ppt – Building a Company of Rain Makers

I Throw Away Business Cards

Business CardsI have a tendency to throw away business cards. When someone walks up to me and wants to trade cards without purpose, I kindly oblige, and put their card in my left pocket. When I walk out the door I throw away all the cards in my left pocket. Why? Because the reality is that business cards piled in your drawer or entered into your contacts are pointless without taking the effort to build them into your network.   The reality is that business cards aren’t networking, they are simply a tool for use while networking. I am interested in developing meaningful relationships; ones where I can help other people succeed.

I received an e-mail yesterday from Charlie Martin, the owner of a writing and editing business (Sorry for the lack of a link, no website is available) that has severed some notable firms including Landry Construction, Sheridan Construction Corporation, and Catholic Charities Maine. We traded contact information, learned more about one another, and I developed a base line of information from which I can work to help him build success (Just send me an e-mail if you need a outside writing or editing consultant and I will gladly pass along his information).

During our correspondence he mentioned his relationship with the SMPS Past-President Mike Reilly of Reilly Communications, a person whom I would like to connect with at this years SMPS national conference. Through it all I was able to identify the key items that I can use to help Charlie, and in doing so build him into my network. Now that is a ‘business card’ worth keeping. The reality is that Charlie and I may not connect again in the future, but it is my hope and intention that we do.  Thanks for the e-mail Charlie!