Industrial marketing is different for machine tools and chemical processing equipment, but it's even stranger for engineering, architectural or construction services.
I learned of the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) back in 2005 when I asked Pete Strange, the president of Messer Construction, how I could get clients in building materials, construction and architecture. He said that SMPS was the best way to learn. I joined and served several years on the board of the local Cincinnati Chapter. The Certified Professional Services Marketer is the most valuable thing I have received from SMPS. It's a body of marketing knowledge and methods that is nothing like selling lipstick or rebar for that matter. Here's link to SMPS.org and a study guide to the certification.
This blog is being written at an introductory class on the CPSM certification. I've been studying for the exam for over ten years now and this year is the year. They just republished the study guides and they are excellent. The thing I like the best is the first thing you are taught to do is marketing research. "Don't get into a market if it's not on an upswing," Donald Trump will tell you. Russ Sanford, one of the past presidents of the Chapter, needed a job and did his research. Northwest Canada needed hydroelectric services. So he pitched national firms and set up an office in the region. Today they have several projects in the works. A perfect example of putting the SMPS to work.
The unfortunate thing about my entry into the architectural world was that the market collapsed in 2009. Now the market has recovered, and it's time to get back to work. I went to Greenbuild last year and look forward to this year's event in Boston. I meet potential clients at major trade shows. Concentrating on companies that are headquartered in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky.
Here are the Domains:
1. Marketing Research
2. Marketing Plan
3. Client and Business Development
5. Promotional Activity
6. Information, Resource and Organizational Management
Marketing Research includes reading industry publications and monitoring industry related information. Today that means monitoring hashtags. There's even a section on forecasting trends.
Marketing Planning starts with a Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats analysis to creating a marketing plan and providing a progress report on the marketing plan. There is nothing frivolous;about this body of knowledge. You won't find speakers that tell you that you need to glob onto a social event to get your Tweet to go viral.
Client and Business Development is all about the people involved n an engineering project. This is where it departs from the marketing departments I've worked with, but it does teach you to pre-qualify a client and conduct client perception studies.
Proposals is the most boring part for me. Industrial marketing as my Dad taught me was more personal chemistry than anything else. Creativity used to be more important. It still is but Google has made all of us analytical marketers. A major part of marketing in the AEC world is proposals and this domain will help anyone plan, organize and deliver complex projects with many moving parts.
Promotional Activity gets into the fun part of developing a brand and social media. "Social media is like teenage sex; everyone says they are doing it, but nobody does it well," Scott Hasson told me he learned at an American Marketing Association meeting. If you need a friendly hand to guide you through Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, this is it. It wraps up with training your staff to deal with the media.
The last Domain, Management, will prepare you to manage a new business development department at your firm.
And that's the road to higher salaries and more job satisfaction.
Good luck with your studies and get in touch if you want to join our study group.