Upcoming Events

    May 29

    Heartland Regional Conference

    Join fellow SMPS members from regional chapters at the Heartland Regional Conference in Detroit this May!

    Jun 20

    Education Series: Uncovering the Hidden Buying Process to Outmaneuver your Competitors

    In this interactive session, Shad will cover the hidden process and weaknesses that cause us to fall into these traps. He will also help you to learn how prospects buy and how to avoid falling into the typical buyers’ traps before an RFQ is sent out.


    Dear Fellow - Seeking Appreciation and Respect in the Marketing Department

    Jun. 25, 2014

    The response to this question is divided up into two parts. Stay tuned next month for more on this topic from another one of our Fellows, Karen Courtney.  



    Dear Fellow,

    HOW can I get the professional staff to understand/appreciate/respect the Marketing Department?


    - Seeking R-E-S-P-E-C-T



    Dear Seeking,


    The profession of marketing—and good marketing professionals—are both invaluable to firms, but often, in our technical industry of architecture, engineering and construction, some folks don’t realize that. Because technical professionals don’t learn about marketing in school, they often don’t understand what it means or how important it is to the firm unless they have been educated and informed. Marketers feeling misunderstood and undervalued, unfortunately still occurs in the design and construction arena. Here are some ideas of how to confront this challenge.


    • Evaluate the culture of your firm. Do you struggle with just a few specific individuals, or is the lack of understanding a firm-wide issue? Does the leadership at your firm value marketing as a key function of the firm? If they do, work together to determine how to educate staff throughout the firm, so that marketing efforts are a higher priority. If not, know that you will be facing an uphill battle.


    • Evaluate what you can do to help your staff gain a better understanding of marketing and how it relates to what they do. Many technical professionals have a limited view of what marketing is and what marketing professionals do because they haven’t been exposed to it. Perhaps you can do a lunch and learn to share your expertise or what you’ve learned through SMPS events and material. Or you can write an article in your company newsletter about the six domains of practice for marketing professional services. If you’re not already, work to become a Certified Professional Services Marketer, showing that there is also a professional designation for what you do that requires passing an exam and obtaining continuing education credits, much like PE’s and RA’s. Through your actions, show you provide value and your desire to help your staff and the firm be successful.


    • Evaluate what you can do to better understand them. At times in the AEC industry, there is a tendency to put marketing-related activities lower on the priority list than external, project-driven deadlines, even though you have to get the project before you can work on it! But what else is going on in your coworkers’ lives and schedules? For example, is he working 60+ hours a week on a big project, which is having a domino effect on his other obligations? If you’re waiting on some information from a coworker, is there anything you can do to kick-start the process for her? In addition to understanding what else your coworkers are going through, work to understand their perspectives. Technical staff and marketing staff are often cut from a different cloth—both bring skills to the table in different ways. Build relationships with your coworkers so that you can appreciate your differences while developing a sense of trust and accountability in one another as members of the same team.  


    Lastly, don’t be discouraged—the industry has come a long way since marketing was introduced to the AEC industry in the ‘70s. Firms are realizing—especially since the recent recession—the essential value that marketing brings to the table, both now and for the future.



    Steve Osborn, PE, SE, FSMPS, CPSM
    President, CE Solutions









    Return to list