Technology and construction marketing: How important is it to keep up with the latest options?

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You certainly don't need to go as far as NASA's Kepler space telescope to gather insights -- but you may find answers by polling a network of relevant leaders and experts.

How much do we (should we) need to embrace the latest technologies in our architectural, engineering and construction initiatives? The answer, I think, depends on our personality and character and there isn’t a single correct answer.

For example, for years our business had a truly inspiring sales representative who developed her clients mostly by phone (even though she worked locally). I sometimes wondered how she did it — without attending many events in person, and certainly never touching the computer. (In rare cases when she absolutely needed to send an email, she would write the message long-hand and give it to the administrator to send.)

Unfortunately, her career ended up not too successfully, as clients rebelled against the supplier-supported feature profiles, and she (instead of looking at the reason for their resistance to the concept) pushed harder and harder at the ownership level, ultimately causing real havoc for our business reputation and brand.

Conversely, another representative has been really effective with the computer and social media. He understands how to manage his LinkedIn lists, and crafts effective and response-generating emails. Alas, things haven’t gone so well on the interpersonal and direct client relationship side of things.

There of course is a happy balance. Technology can save time, reduce work load, and allow us innovative ways to reach more clients, more efficiently, but there is something to be said for the personal touch, and soft skills that have nothing to do with how fast you can keyboard and whether you know how to reboot a server.

Here, we can learn something from Google. Clearly, we have to have some grasp of technology to be invited to the Google campus for an annual summit, but Google also realizes that the in-person connecting is important for its business and not everything can be done with bits and bytes. So, yes, if you are astute about technology you’ll have an edge in AEC marketing and business development. But you need to have quite a bit more in the non-technology areas to succeed as well.

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