Can you really build and implement an AEC marketing plan in one week?

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sattersfield book

sattersfieldPublicists for Mark Satterfield’s The One Week Marketing Plan reached out to me several weeks ago with a free review copy offer.  Since the topic has obvious relevance here, I accepted the proposal, and the book arrived in our offices as I was on vacation a few thousand miles away in Croatia and the Adriatic.

It’s taken some time to read it — and even with blocks of time on the airplane, I’ve not finished the book’s entire second section. However, the first part, where he describes a strategy to build a marketing system from scratch in one week, seemed worthy of attention. I thought, “well maybe I could go out and implement it myself.”

That won’t happen, alas. Not necessarily because Satterfield offers inaccurate advice but because, perhaps, I know too much. His concepts, written in a style that might appeal to Internet “get rich quick” offers, might be somewhat harder to implement for most architectural, engineering and construction practitioners. They may be useful for some residential contractors serving specific niches, and possibly consultants with clearly focused offers. These approaches won’t quite work so well for professional service practices and contractors working on high-value/client number projects, I think. Then again, you don’t expect anyone to go from first “awareness” to signing a commission or contract for a $50 million building project in a week, do you.

His weekly plan, day by day (with some critiques):

Day one: Choosing your niche market

Undoubtedly the most important marketing challenge; that of differentiation. Satterfield offers some worthy insights here if you are having trouble focusing your energies, and this chapter may make the book worthwhile for you even if you don’t get much further. However, while I’m sure there are times when you have inspiration flash, you may find you need more than a day to figure out your niche .

This advice is worthy, however.

Start with the clients you already have and answer these questions:

  • Do you have a pattern of success with a particular group of clients?
  • Is one group of clients spending more money with you than others?
  • Is one group easier to sell to?
  • Is there a group that you have a natural affinity with?

Day two:  Create your free offer

Here, Satterfield veers into the Internet marketing world — with the free “report” designed to induce people to purchase from you. The concept is sound.  You provide a free (selling) report in exchange for the prospect’s email address, but while Satterfield suggests ways to develop and design this document (or video), the process won’t be so easy for many.

Day three: Create a website for your free offer

Again, the concept of a simple product-service focused website makes sense, and he provides some advice on building one. However, even with my experience and appreciation of WordPress and a network of inexpensive offshore contractors to help, I’m not sure I could build a really effective website in a day.

Day four: Develop a series of drip-marketing messages

This is the autoresponder technique. You build a sequence of communications to new people on your mailing list, building trust and connection and hopefully the successful call-to-action/inquiry in short order. Satterfield provides some rather well-thought scripts and processes here, and I think this section could provide you with some clues for an automated lead conversion system (again probably appropriate more to consulting or specialist services rather big-project sign-ons.

Day five: Get traffic to your website

Satterfield advocates pay-per-click advertising, and provides some models and scripts. Undoubtedly, the pay-per-click approach can be implemented quickly, but it can be costly. The challenge, of course: You need to run a multi-stage campaign.  The initial inquiry for the free report must “convert” to enough orders for that report, and then you need to go through the process of building trust and hopefully achieve conversions.  Depending on your niche, you’ll need to spend a fair bit of money to achieve enough results to successfully validate and test your concept — and Satterfield (rightfully) doesn’t provide budget numbers in his generalist volume, because, of course, the cost will vary depending on your niche, success, and perhaps some luck.

So, is this book worth the money?  The answer, yes, because you’ll discover some basic marketing tidbits and methodologies you probably can implement, even if your business doesn’t fit the one-week model. However, I doubt most readers here will be able to follow the dots and observe his advice from beginning to end.  In my opinion, successful AEC marketing often requires months — if not years — of effective relationship-building and commitment. And it should, because of the scale and volume for work within this industry. (The book, with its pre-publicity marketing, will be released on Aug. 26.)

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