The Guide, Not the Hero
The most common error many marketers and engineering professionals make when telling their company’s story is placing themselves in the role of hero. I cannot emphasize this enough;
THE CLIENT IS THE HERO OF THE STORY!
When you make yourself or your firm the HERO, the client loses interest in your story. Besides, when most other competing firms are making themselves the HEROS, you simply sound like everyone else. Nothing differentiates you or makes your story memorable. You are the GUIDE who assists the HERO.
You are Yoda and the client is Luke Skywalker. You are Itzhak Stern, the Jewish accountant, and the client is Oskar Schindler. The Scarecrow is an Architect; The Tinman is an Engineer; and the Lion is a Contractor; and our clients are Dorothy.
So when you are telling the stories of your projects, the challenges and obstacles you have overcome, the problems you have solved, turn the story toward the client and talk about the challenges they overcame and the problems you helped them solve.
This may take some extra courage to present to your leadership. For decades, the stories of A/E/C firms have been ego-centric placing our brilliant technical professionals as the HEROs of their own stories. This must flip! Besides, who doesn’t want to be Yoda!
I highly recommend Donald Miller's, "Building A Storybrand" for more about this topic.
Taking Marketing Photos
Many of you take construction site photos before, during, and after a project. Most of these photos are for project purposes such as gathering site data, inspections, and closeouts. Sometimes, you may take a photo that accidentally is good for marketing purposes. However, most of the photos have no marketing value. Here are some tips for taking good marketing photos while on a project site.
The first aspect to consider is the quality of the camera you are using. Most of you likely use your smartphone for project photos. While this is not ideal, it can be a good quality photo if you know how to use your smartphone camera appropriately. A few easy things to remember include;
Composing a great marketing photo is not as difficult as you may think. There are a few simple rules to composing a great photo.
Don’t be afraid to take too many pictures. Because the photos are digital, you are not wasting film. Sometimes you must take eight or ten shots of the same subject to get one really great photo. That’s fine. Whatever you take, be sure to save ALL the photos and share them with your marketing staff.
Depending on the project and its marketing value, your best decision may be to spend a little money and hire a professional photographer. If you do, make sure to hire a photographer that regularly shoots landscapes, buildings, and infrastructure. Be sure to ask to see some of their work. If they will let you, request to go on their shoot with them, and don’t be afraid to share your ideas. It is also an opportunity for you to learn how to take better pictures.
Many times, the terms “Marketing” and “Business Development” get interchanged and very few know the difference. These are two interrelated functions that feed off each other but are not the same thing.
“Business Development” is a component of marketing, the process of identifying clients and opportunities, developing relationships, and securing profitable work for the firm.
Why is this important? Because marketing is the driving force which creates strategy and executes a mission to help make a company productive and profitable. Marketing is a business-centric activity. As such, the marketing team is typically a specific and identifiable group of people whose sole job function is directly tied to marketing tasks.
Business development is a function under the umbrella of marketing. While there may or may not be dedicated employees to the business development function, everyone who has any client-facing responsibility participates in business development. There are dedicated employees to business development, which occupies nearly all their time and energy. These full-time business development professionals’ primary function is to create opportunities and open doors for business. The business development role of nurturing client relationships and closing deals falls to the Project Managers and Leaders of the firm. While business development and marketing professionals assist in nurturing or closing deals, these are best accomplished by those who are performing the engineering tasks and managing projects.
You play a pivotal role in the success of driving business for your company. All your client interactions are marketing and business development. Every phone conversation, email and meeting are contributing to your firm’s brand, driving future business opportunities, fulfilling or discovering client expectations, nurturing relationships and so on.
Gabe Lett, FSMPS, CPSM, LPC