Lindsay Young from nu marketing llc in Wichita, KS, has written some solid advice in the SMPS Marketer magazine for architectural, engineering and construction marketers in asserting that in this business:
The most important key to remember is that results are not instantaneous.
In reality, there are three fundamental challenges within the AEC marketing environment:
First, this industry is cyclical. There are highs and lows, and the highs can be so exhilarating and overwhelming that we don’t see any need for marketing since clients are banging down the door and the issues are more workforce shortages than they are finding customers. And then the four-letter-word hits the fan and suddenly (or sometimes within a few months or years), the backlog disappears and there is a mad scramble to find any business.
Second, the sales cycle is long, but can sometimes go in jolts where you go from nowhere to somewhere at incredible speed or (more painfully) almost sure-thing orders dry up at the last-minute (like when recessions blow into the space.)
Finally, the sample sizes are small. This makes it harder to run conventional scientific marketing approaches — where you can run A/B response tests or even multivariate analysis and pick out the best approaches to replicate.
So how do you manage the process? Young rightfully says you need to build your plan and then stick with it (resilience), be faithful (believe in it and hold the fort) and be patient (give it time). In building your plan you can still apply some science — there is accumulated expertise and evidence of basics; such as the importance of maintaining ongoing relationships with current and previous clients, having a solid, up-to-date and relevant web and social media presence, and ensuring you measure key metrics to develop a robust go/no-go strategy for proposals.