If you ask the average AEC firm partner, they’ll say they know their audience. They’ll also say they know their capabilities, they know the contacts, they know the market, etc. These are very true statements for the most part.
Well, why then, do people hire marketing consultants? After all, aren’t these basically the things that any marketing consultant is going to waltz in and regurgitate after a few meetings?
I hope not.
As a marketing consultant, I cringe when I hear about the perception that marketing and branding professionals just capture what people say in interviews and turn it around in a document. That’s not what we do – at least not most of us. A good strategy is about the details, their analysis and unique recommendations based how those things fit into the big picture.
So, for any interested AEC industry folks, I thought it was worthwhile to cover a few of the basics that go into a REAL strategy document so people can know what to expect.
You may know your website – but do you know which pages are the most popular? If you’re a federal government contractor, do you know whether or not people are hitting your site from a government IP address? Do you know the last time you had a spike in traffic and why?
You may know your competitors – but do you know what content they have on their sites that you don’t? Do you know how closely aligned your brand is with theirs or how easily potential clients get confused between you and them?
You may know your clients – but do you know the right ones? Do you know who really makes buying decisions? Do you know why they called you in the first place? Or why they call you back?
You may know your capabilities – but do you know what your clients are asking for? Do you know how to describe them to an uninformed audience? Do you know what your clients call your services and how that differs from what you call them?
I could go on…but I’ll spare you! The point is, the devil is in the details. Perhaps more importantly, the devil is in ALL of the details. It is easy to find out the answer to any one of these questions, but the point of a strategic consultant is to pull all of these things together and make recommendations based on experience, industry understanding and knowledge on what works best for what audience.
If you’re hiring a worthwhile strategic consultant, they won’t just tell you something you already know – but they should tell you plenty of things you wish you knew sooner.