An ALL-IN Approach to AEC Marketing Planning Will Turn Your Strategy Inside Out


There is no better way to incorporate every staff member in your AEC marketing program than including them in your internal marketing audit.Gathering feedback from every individual about the status, and most importantly, the perception of the state of your marketing program will provide you with a valuable 360-degree marketing program review. 


What is a marketing audit?


An audit turns your AEC marketing strategy inside out, exposing all its strengths and weaknesses. It reviews ten primary areas of a successful marketing program and is conducted by everyone in your firm.This feedback can be very telling and point to areas that need special attention. 


How to conduct your marketing audit


Creating a marketing report card with rated questions under each program category is an easy way to gather the information you need.  Provide an area for open-ended comments, but rankings or ratings help you analyze the data more concisely and evaluate across the board. 


Below is a summary of our suggested areas of review and some potential questions to include in your survey:


  1. Strategic Plan:
    1. Do we have a formal written marketing plan? Budget? 

    2. Does the plan involve the entire firm in the process? 

    3. Is it evaluated throughout the year and adjusted according to market standards? 

  2. Client Relations:
    1. Do we have a formalized client relations and maintenance program? 

    2. Do we participate in client-oriented associations? 

    3. Do we evaluate our project performance with our clients and adjust accordingly? 

    4. What percentage of work are we obtaining from existing clients?

  3. Business Development:
    1. What percentage of work are we obtaining from new clients? 

    2. Do we have a formalized business development contact program? 

    3. Do we utilize our CRM to its fullest capacity? 

    4. Are Principals/Management involved in business development? 

  4. Market Research:
    1. Do we conduct formalized market research? 

    2. Do we incorporate our research into our strategic planning process? 

    3. Do we have a short-term and a long-term market outlook?

  5. Public Relations: 

    1. Do we have a formalized public relations plan? 

    2. Do we have a targeted public relations calendar that includes our target markets? 

    3. Are we actively participating in client-oriented associations? 

    4. Has any work been obtained from our public relations efforts?

  6. Staff Training:
    1. Do we have a formalized marketing training program? 

    2. Do we include marketing performance in our management review process? 

    3. Is our training program focused on all types of staff members without our firm?

  7. Marketing Collateral/Materials:
    1. Do our marketing materials include content strategy that responds to our target markets? 

    2. Is our collateral accessible and up-to-date? 

    3. Do our materials address our firm differentiators? 

    4. Do we have standardized templates that are easy to use?

  8. Proposals/Request for Information: 

    1. Are we achieving above an 80% shortlist rate? 

    2. Have we reviewed proposals from other firms? 

    3. Is our technical staff writing too much of our boilerplate content? 

    4. Are we incorporating a proactive QA/QC review process? 

    5. Do we include a measurable Go/No Go process?

  9. Presentations/Interviews:
    1. Are we achieving above an 80% win rate? 

    2. Do we rehearse? 

    3. Is our presentation preparation process streamlined? 

    4. Are we getting a debrief? 

    5. Are our technical staff members participating in selection committee opportunities?

  10. Website/Social Media:
    1. Have we been given project opportunities because of our website? 

    2. Are we adding new content to our website monthly? 

    3. Is our content written with SEO/keywords in mind? 

    4. Do we have analytic tools in place to monitor website and social media progress? 

    5. Do we have a formal social media strategy?

Upon completing a marketing audit, you should have actionable takeaways for improving your client feedback process, business development approach, proposals and interview preparation, website, content, SEO, social media, and various other areas of your program.Gathering this information from your entire staff will allow them to feel involved in the overall marketing approach. 


Why not take this strategic planning season to assess, and perhaps evolve, your strategic planning approach and involve everyone? 


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About The Author

Keri Hammond, FSMPS, CPSM

Keri is a long-standing trailblazer in the Utah AEC industry. Clients appreciate her ability to get things done – they know she does whatever it takes, with integrity, to help them build their business. Keri is known for her leadership and diplomacy; she motivates others with positivity, trust, and unwavering support.

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