Guidance for AEC Industry Marketing Coordinators
Marketing coordinators, did you know that you have both external and internal clients? In reality, your specific role as coordinator is to make the firm’s internal/technical staff your #1 priority. What does this mean? It means maintaining a deliberate focus on how you can relieve stress for your technical staff when it comes to their assigned marketing tasks. This looks different for each marketing department and staff member. It might mean providing information, assisting with time management, offering guidance and direction, or being a cheerleader. Ultimately, your primary focus in marketing department organization is efficient communication with the technical professionals as they juggle their billable projects and non-billable marketing tasks.
Effective customer service starts with anticipating the needs of your clients and providing a solution for their challenges. Below are six ways to be a valuable team member for the technical staff as they navigate their marketing responsibilities.
- Communicate the process: When you have a proposal or marketing task and need assistance from a technical professional, communicate the entire process. In an email or verbal conversation, let them know what help you need from them step by step. Tell them how much time you anticipate they will need to allocate, how you will provide direction, the tools they may need along the way, and give them a schedule and deadline for tasks.
- Streamline the process: Nothing is more frustrating to a technical professional than re-writing content. Be sure to capture the information they provide for resumes, projects, proposal endeavors, and basic boilerplate. Take the time to develop a system where data is updated consistently. Add a step in your proposal process that includes a thorough review and documentation of all new and updated information in every proposal pursuit. Copy and insert this information in appropriate master documents so that it is easily accessible the next time you need it.
- Anticipate the need: Instead of conducting a kick-off meeting by sitting down with a proposal team, the RFP you skimmed over and an empty page in your notebook, take the time to be prepared. Thoroughly examine the RFP, take notes, and put together a draft of what you anticipate including so that the proposal team can review it in the meeting. It’s much better to pull out information than to add, hunt, and find after the fact. Use your time wisely in the initial meeting, as you most likely will not get that kind of attention again from the group. Gather all information in this meeting, strategize approach, and help set milestones for information gathering.
- Be a resource: One of the main ways to ensure you are a valuable team member is to become a resource for technical professionals. Instead of asking them to write a project description or management plan from scratch, offer to interview them or provide questions for them to answer so you can create a draft. Find similar content that has been written and provide it to them as a guide.
- Keep them focused on what’s most important: Remember, your internal clients have project deadlines, billable time requirements, and project meetings to attend to, so use their available marketing time wisely. Focus them on strategic approach, management plan, project understanding, and other technical aspects of the proposal. Keep their time for reviewing boilerplate information to a cursory review.
- Learn the lingo: The best advice given to marketing staff is to learn the lingo and learn the biz. Take the time to understand the services you were hired to promote. This includes learning the technical jargon and terminology, understanding your firm's services, asking questions, and attending project meetings or site visits. This effort will make you an irreplaceable team member and help you gain the respect of the technical professionals.
As marketing staff, we teach our technical team to put the needs of their clients first. We remind them to find a way to alleviate a client's challenges, risks, and stresses. These same suggestions apply to serving our internal clients as they strive to achieve their marketing responsibilities. Be a resource and advocate for them.