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Society for Marketing Professional Services
s unpredictable as it can be, planning for
the future is critical to an o...
Marketer/August 2012
With the current pressures on the industry and increased use
of building information modeling and ...
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  1. 1. 46 Society for Marketing Professional Services A s unpredictable as it can be, planning for the future is critical to an organization’s livelihood. Forecasting is risky, so in addition to completing research for this article, I conferred with a trusted team of advisors, listed in the sidebar.They represent architecture, engineering, construction, subcontractor, finance, and legal specialties and cover regional, national, and international markets. So while this column is called “My Turn,” it’s really “Our Turn,” a collection of our thoughts on the future in terms of the economy, hot markets, and marketing trends. The Global and Domestic Economy According to J. Michael Evans, vice chairman of Goldman Sachs, growth markets—Mexico, Korea, Turkey, Indonesia, Brazil, Rus- sia, India, and China—are expected to rise, equating to a total of 56 percent of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2020. Experts claim this transition will impact all markets. With mortgage rates likely to remain favorable, stable inflation projections, and an expected two percent rise in GDP, consumer and business confidence is presumed to rise, along with employment rates. Risks that could affect actual outcomes include fiscal struggles in Europe, a potential Chinese recession, and a U.S. national election, among others. “Although firms cannot control global or domestic events,” said Zeel Patel, marketing director, Cardno USA, “they can focus on scenarios to consider market extremes during annual strategic planning cycles and position accordingly. They can also offer opportunities to leaders to gain global experiences to foster broader thinking across markets.” Hot Markets According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 6 of the top 10 fastest-growing industries for employment through 2020 relate to healthcare and the aging population. The others are associated with technology, education, and construction. “The Baby Boomers will now affect the healthcare industry as they pass through the elder years,” concurs Ron Goodin, senior project manager with Fletcher Thompson and president of the Connecticut Building Congress. “The educational space built for the Baby Boomers also needs to be repurposed to meet the needs of the smaller Gen Y group and society’s other changing needs.” Rail, transportation, utilities, and environmental work will continue to be in demand as economies fight to be competitive in the global market. Professional Services Marketing Trends Three distinct marketing trends were identified: extreme competition, financing challenges, and mushrooming use of social media. Hyper-Increased Competition Although the economy is picking up, business is much lower than pre-recession levels. As a result, the market is very competitive. Robert Heslin, director of business development for Loureiro Engineering Associates, Inc., commented, “We work to create opportunities rather than just track prospects. With limited resources, we are more selective about what we pursue—it’s a no-go for us unless we have a relationship.” Cross-selling is becoming more important than ever. Pitting divisions against each other can’t be tolerated, and teamwork is essential. Project Financing Pressures “Financing projects will continue to be a challenge for clients,” says Ann Schiola, CPSM, director of marketing for Finley Engineering Group. “A combination of alternative delivery methods, public- private partnerships, new technologies, innovative designs, and regulatory reform will be needed, and A/E/C firms must help bridge the gap between design and construction.” Looking to the Future:The Economy, Hot Markets, and Trends BY THERESA M. CASEY, FSMPS, CPSM my turn
  2. 2. 47 Marketer/August 2012 With the current pressures on the industry and increased use of building information modeling and other tools, owners and architects are expecting more from subcontractors. “Our main effort going forward,” explained Rich Bergan, director of marketing for Bergan Architectural Woodworking, “is to educate team members as to how subcontractors can help with project efficiencies.” Price is definitely becoming more important in the selection process. A client is more likely to choose a firm close to the top in ratings if that firm can work more efficiently. Firms need to demonstrate an understanding of the client’s needs to the point of interacting with the client as an integral, almost internal, team member who understands the processes, as well as the desired outcomes. “We’ve seen an increase in mandated fiscal monitoring and ethics compliance programs in the public sector,” noted Joe Spagnoletti, CPA, CCIFPm partner for JH Cohn. “Contractors should invest in internal controls to present a competitive advantage when bidding. We expect this trend to cross over into the private sector.” Social Media and the Internet Most agree that traditional marketing will never go away, but the internet has a huge influence. More firms are developing plans, guidelines, and training to obtain the desired use of the new media by their associates. The purpose of social media is to create and get involved in the conversation, to position your firm as a thought leader, to draw traffic to your web site, and to identify potential opportunities. Online content creation is key, and social media expands the reach of your reputation, so there is a lot of re-branding and web site updates taking place. Clients are savvy in the new media, searching on a specialty to see which firms and professionals pop up. “We need to help our colleagues understand that these new tools can aid in business development,” said Chris Watson, national director of marketing services at Gilbane. “With that, greater participation and additional resources will follow.” Trusted Team of Advisors (Presented in alphabetical order) Rich Bergan, Director of Marketing, Bergan Architectural Woodworking Joe Spagnoletti, CPA, CCIFPm Partner, JH Cohn Ann Franks, Associate, Corgan Associates Matt Ferrucci, Business Development and Marketing Manager, Robinson & Cole Ron Goodin, Senior Project Manager, Fletcher Thompson Robert Heslin, Director of Business Development, Loureiro Engineering Associates Inc. Zeel Patel, Marketing Director, Cardno USA Ann Schiola, CPSM, Marketing Director, Finley Engineering Group Chris Watson, National Director of Marketing Services, Gilbane “Six of the top 10 fastest-growing industries for employment through 2020 relate to healthcare and the aging population.The others are associated with technology, education, and construction.” The Role of the Marketing Professional While the objectives of the marketing professional remain the same, the tools available to do the job have been expanding at a rapid rate. Marketers need to be educated on the tools and determine which ones make the most sense for their companies. “This challenge comes at a time when internal resources are limited,” advised Ann Franks, associate with Corgan Associates, “so focus efforts on areas that give the best results.” “The development of quality relationships is the core of a successful marketing strategy,” explained Matt Ferrucci, business development and marketing manager with Robinson & Cole. “Technology is just another resource for relationship building.” “Communicating strategies in meaningful IT terms is important,” commented Patel. “The technology can either enhance or prevent a strategy from being successful.” While the economy is slowly recovering and financial pressures are weighing in, firms need to make the most of their human and technical resources and hone their messages to position for the opportunities that lie ahead. About the Author Theresa M. Casey, FSMPS, CPSM, founding principal of Connecticut-based OnTarget Marketing & Communications, has 25 years of experience in professional services marketing on a regional, national, and international level. A two-time winner of the SMPS National Marketing Communications Awards, she can be reached at or (860) 228-0163.

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