Perhaps one of the easiest things to say, but hardest to do, is to actually target your marketing efforts. I find that time after time clients (and most companies period) are much more comfortable with the concept of marketing to their top industries or target audiences than they are with the practice of it.
It isn’t generally hard to find the target audience, define them or even identify the right methods of reaching them…the hardest battle is normally the idea that we don’t have to market to all of the other people that may, at one point, some day, for some reason be interested in our services.
It’s a hard battle, but it’s a truth.
Successful marketing is targeted, and there are many reasons.
Cost efficiency – Most firms would scoff at the idea of placing a print ad in USA Today. “Why would we do that? We’re wasting our money to reach all of these people who would never buy our services!” But it generally isn’t a big deal to go after proposals with a very low likelihood of award, or create brochures and web content targeted to clients they have little to no experience with. These activities are still wasting resources, even if not at the same magnitude as a pricey print ad.
Brand and Messaging – Let’s trade this statement,
“We’re a full-service, multi-disciplinary architecture and engineering firm that can tackle small and large projects on budget and on time.”
For this one,
“We’re the premier multi-family residential design firm in the Orlando, Florida area, responsible for more than 1,000,000 condo units in the city and surrounding communities.”
Which one has more impact? Which one can the competition say? A well defined brand, means a well defined target and a firm that is willing to say what they are the BEST at, without having to include the things they’re good at.
Leads Are Better Qualified – Not that many A/E firms are having a problem with too many leads these days, but when leads do come in, it sure is nice when they know what you do. A lead that has a chance to easily decipher what your firm is best at via readily available marketing and STILL calls, means they are interested in exactly what you deliver. And referrals? Well, they will still come in. If a firm comes highly recommended by another client, they will still get the phone call, even without the brochure for exactly the service and industry the client may be looking for.
Enhanced Web Presence – If you work for an architecture firm, Google “multi-disciplinary architecture firm ” with your city, state and try to find yours in the list. If you really want to draw in new leads from marketing efforts instead of pounding the pavement and going to every networking event, an improved web presence (with at least a little bit of SEO) is pretty important. Every firm website can’t be appealing to every potential client searching for information on the web. So it’s up to each A/E firm to cater web content and social media efforts around the topics that matter most. Around 70,000 blogs are launched every day. If you had to tell a story on a blog regularly, what would it be? Remember that your firm’s goal isn’t to compete with every other firm out there, it’s to compete with firms that focus on your target audience. The others are just noise.
Marketing isn’t hard. Targeting isn’t hard. But targeted marketing requires discipline and above all else a little trust that the research, planning, experience and hard work will pay off in the long run!