Great architectural, engineering and construction marketing requires some risk-taking. You can play it safe, of course, doing what everyone else appears to be doing, and perhaps copying ideas you’ve seen successfully implemented elsewhere. However, at some point, if you want to achieve genuine success, you’ll need to break out of your comfort zone and take on new approaches, channels or models.
Here are three ideas to manage the risk effectively.
Test on a small, but statistically valid, scale
This is especially the case with paid advertising/promotion. You need to interpret results based on a sample large enough to give you some meaningful data. The testing of course is easiest for businesses which serve a relatively high volume of smaller-dollar clients — if you are building one or two multi-million dollar structures a year, you won’t be able to go anywhere near the sample size (but in that case, I think you probably won’t be wise to be spending much of your money on conventional paid advertising and promotion.)
Remember, your current clients’ experience and perception counts for more than anything else you do
Bernie Siben wisely suggests conducting your client experience/feedback survey in the middle or the project, not at the end. Make this a personal call, from someone senior with the company but not associated with the specific project. You will obtain course-correcting feedback, and the chance to recover from problems, and show your responsiveness. I think this mid-project inquiry would be valuable for residential projects, even, as well — you can certainly learn from the process.
Take some rational risks, really (and allow for creativity)
I would put into my marketing budget at least one new idea/experiment each year. Maybe you could hire a public relations/media consultant, organize a client event, or reach out with a direct response client advertising campaign. Sure, you can mitigate the risks by studying how others have done the same sort of thing, or building in some fail-safes and budget controls. Just be sure to give the project enough time to prove itself one way or another.