Pick Up the Pieces – Then What?

Let’s say you’re playing with Legos with your child and inevitably, they push too hard on the little piece with the two nubs and…SMASH. About the last twenty minutes worth of work is now lost. It’s only happened a million times in my house.

Of course, it’s my role (as the non-overreacting father that I am) to say “No big deal, we’ll build it again even better!” Sometimes that doesn’t cut it, but most of the time we’re only derailed for a few minutes and we get back into building something totally different – and cooler.

But, it turns out to be a much bigger deal for everyone involved when we’re working on something concrete. When we’re working on a special, boxed set of Star Wars Legos with instructions, Lego Rebel Alliance pilots and a specific desired outcome…THEN we smash it. Ugh.

It’s not about the tears though (my kids’ or mine), we have a job to finish and we experienced a set back. It still doesn’t change our desired outcome. We have a goal, we have instructions and just because we broke the wing off this X-Wing fighter doesn’t mean we’re going to use the pieces to build a boat. That would be unheard of.

The fact that we have:

  • a goal (finish this X-Wing)
  • a plan (90 page instruction booklet)
  • resources (somewhere around 7 million Legos and a lot of time)

…helps us be:

  • dedicated
  • bought in
  • focused.

Is AEC marketing so different? Without a plan, is your firm building a new Lego creation after every lost proposal? Without clear goals, does everyone want to build their own boat instead of working on the X-Wing?

There’s No Shame in A/E Facebook Advertising

Too often in client conversations does the notion of advertising get laughed off. The three main motivations for such a quick dismissal are:

  1. Too expensive
  2. No ROI
  3. We don’t need to advertise, all of our work is referral driven

I think I probably deal with #3 enough on this blog, so today I thought I’d look at the other two for a moment.

What normally gets dismissed is the idea of planned advertising or actually putting together a campaign. However, when a decent deal in a conference program comes up, firms are often pretty quick to throw out a few hundred extra dollars to maximize the impact of their attendance.

From my perspective, it’s the “one-offs” that should be dismissed from the marketing budget, if your firm isn’t willing to follow up with regular placements elsewhere. One ad a year in a program isn’t doing much for your brand awareness and often in the realm of AEC marketing that’s the only real reason we would advertise.

With all of this in mind, I couldn’t help but highlight Facebook advertising as a cost-effective advertising option for architecture/engineering firms and contractors alike. With all of the targeting criteria that can go into an ad, the dollars are incredibly well spent – even when you only evaluate the impressions received. Once you start to look at social reach, long term fans and interaction…the value increases exponentially.

Whether you follow AdWeek/Vitrue and believe a fan is only worth $3.60, or you lean towards the higher $136.38 value that Syncapse came up with isn’t really that important, because either way your ad dollars WILL result in fans – it’s almost a guarantee (unless your ads are really off the mark, that is). Not to mention the metrics that Facebook offers allow you to constantly monitor, tweak and improve your ads – a benefit only larger agencies generally have when it comes to online display advertising. And just for the record, I love the new metrics dashboard FB recently launched, very nice.

So, AEC marketers, I urge you to take a second look at your marketing budgets and consider whether or not a $500 ad spend in Facebook over the course of a month or two isn’t more valuable than that $500 conference program spot with a shelf-life of about two days. When it comes to ROI and cost effectiveness, there are few options out there that offer both and with so much control.