It is easy to spout marketing jargon, but if you really want to be successful with your architectural, engineering or construction marketing, it helps to start with where you are.
Answering these questions will tell you a lot about what you are already doing right, and where you can improve.
- Who are your best current clients? How did you first get their business? Are they truly happy with your service and do they (without prompting) provide you with repeat and referral business?
- Who are your major competitors? Are they causing problems or are they just taking their regular place in the marketplace?
- How much surplus capacity do you have? In other words, how much additional business could you accommodate without going overboard — and needing to pay significant incrementally greater overhead and management costs?
- Is your website and are your basic communications resources reasonably up-to-date?
Answers to these questions provide the beginning-point for your marketing objectives.
You may find you don’t need to change much or even really worry much about any marketing investments. This could occur if your pipeline of new and repeat/referral business is strong and sustainable, and additional business would truly strain your capacity. (Why should you invest funds in marketing to attract new business, when the additional business will in fact be costly to administer? You will pay both ways for less results than you have now.)
Conversely, if you don’t have “any” customers or your current clients are truly not happy with your service/value, you have a really serious problem and I’m not sure any marketing campaign or initiative will be helpful in overcoming what will likely be a downward spiral for your business. If you are starting up, I hope you have a base of relationships/potential clients to get you going at the outset; if you are an established business and are losing your clients because of poor quality/service/value, you need to address these problems urgently.
There is a final sweet spot where thoughtful marketing planning and initiatives can be really helpful. If you can scale your business for higher volume, and your current clients are happy, the key is to develop systems to encourage them to purchase/refer more; and make it easy for new clients to become aware of you. (Starting point will be your website, coupled with if appropriate social media and effective reputation and content marketing initiatives.)
The beauty of all of these approaches is that they aren’t costly. I think a full-blown marketing strategy/enhancement can be achieved for $5,000 or so with a consultant, and less in cost (but more in time and learning) if you want to do it yourself. Big-ticket items like paid advertising, trade show fees and the like are optional, and could make sense if you wish to push for even greater growth.