Sep 11, 2009

Marketing Architecture

Is everything Marketing? For the absolute-haters, no. But having good marketing skills can be just as, if not more, important than having good design skills in the current economic times. What exactly is Marketing? I will copy/paste the American Marketing Association definition:
“Marketing is an organizational function and a set of process for creating, communicating and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders.”

Are architects marketing-smart?

Architects may have found it rather intuitive, something to be learned as one practices the profession. But I would suggest deeper studies. Architectural Practice classes are just the tip of the iceberg. In the book Blink, Malcomn Gladwell writes that a person has 2 seconds before jumping to a conclusion. Misleading or not, it is a judgement upon which the subsequence client decisions will be based. When all we have is a website, a handshake, a voice machine, an attire, a business card, or a few pages to respond to a RFQ (request for qualifications) or a RFP (request for proposals), we have the equivalent of Malcolmn Gladwell's 2 seconds to make the correct first impression on a client. Our design skills might not even come into play when being judged; instead, our marketing skills do. Are we portraying our business the way we want it, are we selling effectively? Is our professional persona portraying the quality and type of work we are after?

In the current economic disaster, we have few architectural firms hiring or investing. Those that are, are looking for marketing leaders who would help them win projects, or saving their cash flow for marketing pursuits. In one way or another, we recognize the importance of marketing as the essential piece of the architectural work. As such, we should analyze our current efforts in this deparment, and come out stronger than before, as the savvy architectural marketers we should be.

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