AEC marketers face many common challenges. Problems may vary depending on the organization and market conditions. However, the following five issues seem to be the most common:
1. Differentiation and Competitive Advantage.
AEC firms often struggle to differentiate themselves. The industry is highly competitive, yet most firms copy each other in marketing language and presentation. This is where AEC marketers need to help their firms find unique selling propositions. Once established, these unique propositions need to be communicated effectively to the right audience. Places to search for unique selling propositions exist in levels of expertise, project experience, innovation, and sustainable practices.
2. Targeting and Reaching the Right Audience.
Once unique propositions are identified AEC marketers must target the right audience. Most firms struggle to properly identify the appropriate audience. This is crucial for marketing messages to succeed. The AEC industry has diverse market segments with diverse stakeholders. Marketing messages must be tailored for clients, contractors, architects, government agencies, and end-users. Marketers are always refining their targeting strategies to effectively communicate their value propositions to the right audience.
3. Technical Complexity and Communication.
AEC projects often involve intricate technical details and specialized knowledge. Great marketers translate challenging technical concepts into compelling and understandable messages. This requires time and intention to study your firm's technical capabilities. Communicating the benefits and value of AEC services in a clear, concise, and engaging manner is essential.
4. Long Sales Cycles and Relationship Building.
The AEC industry involves long sales cycles due to projects' complexity and high-value nature. Therefore, client relationships are the backbone of winning work. Marketers and technical professionals must build strong relationships with clients and prospective clients. Marketers and technical professionals must nurture leads. On-going engagement is crucial with active projects and when clients are slow. Being top-of-mind throughout the decision-making process is essential. This is accomplished through effective relationship-building, relevant content, and consistent engagement.
5. Limited Marketing Budgets
AEC firms often allocate limited budgets for marketing activities compared to other industries. Marketers must maximize the impact of the efforts with limited resources. To do this, marketers prioritize their initiatives, leverage cost-effective channels, and show return-on-investment (ROI).
There are many factors that dictate the unique challenges of each AEC marketer;
Gabe Lett, FSMPS, CPSM, LPC