Part One: Research & Database Development
By Aaron Neumann
Manager, CES Data Compliance & Reporting
This article series will cover basic marketing strategies for CES providers. Using a case study approach, new methods for generating greater connectivity with your customer base and AIA members through researching, developing a dynamic database of contacts and branding your courses using innovative curricular formats, will be underlined with the goal of providing you a foundation of marketing tactics to build upon. In part one of this series we will cover Research and Database Development while part two will focus on Social Media. Together these tactics are a powerful threesome for marketing.
“Effective marketing begins with solid research.”
Case Study #1
• Kansas Educational Products researches each architecture firm in the area to compile data on current and past projects.
• They focus on reaching out to firms that have built schools in the past or are currently building schools.
By taking the time to research firms, Kansas Educational Products generates more poignant marketing campaigns, and only contacts firms that would likely demand their education. They experience greater success at developing long lasting relationships with firms. This is a more effective and strategic way to market continuing education, while building the vital relationships with firms that gets Kansas Educational Products specified.
Building a database of past customers is crucial for both future research and exploiting social media platforms for effective marketing campaigns.
Case Study # 2
• The BSA maintains a database that is rich with our members and allies. Communications are targeted to be sure the right people are receiving only messages and promotions that are relevant to them. Techniques for outreach are also targeted and include direct mail, electronic mail, social media, posters, postcards, radio and word-of-mouth. Every one of those channels drive visitors back to the website, architects.org, which receives around 17,000 visitors each month. In the last year, architects.org received over 120,000 unique visits. We also rely on the marketing channels managed by our partners and allies.
By developing a database of contacts, BSA has created a highly targeted platform for connecting with past customers. This database also provides rich information to do generate new leads, through research. And, by leveraging social media platforms, BSA could grow their list of contacts exponentially, by reaching customers beyond their immediate “circles.”
Brand your education
Explore ways to brand the continuing education that you offer beyond product affiliation or lunches. One method to consider is to develop a curricular mechanism for expanding one educational presentation into multiple presentations, possible a 3-part series. Market these additional courses during the presentation. Presenting to a firm multiple times will enable you to build deeper relationships.
Consider your presentation an investment in the firm. Through this lens, which is the better investment for your company?
• Ten presentations at ten different firms?
• Ten presentations at one firm?
By transforming a single course into multiple formats, or expanding it into three different courses, possibly increasing in difficulty of content, and honing in on specific architecture firms, you will be able to connect with architects through maximized face-to- face time.
Case Study # 3
PSMJ Resources focuses on several different topics that are specific to Architects, from firm leaders to project architects. They offer seminars on financial management, business development and marketing, ownership transition, human resources, mergers and acquisitions, public works regulations, project management, and leadership issues. They offer online learning through our monthly webinar membership, along with our online learning portal which is based on the PSMJ Ultimate Project Management Manual. In addition, they produce books, manuals, whitepapers, and newsletters on various topics and firm issues to appeal to as many architects as possible.
Hopefully you can use the information in this article and apply it to your own marketing to help generate ideas for how to create new strategies to reach a broader or more targeted customer base. In conclusion, research and development of a database of contacts are all separate processes that should work in tandem. Incorporating social media, covered in part two, will strengthen you marketing strategy
Social media serves a catalyst for perpetuating connections with people and organizations, beyond which you would have no previous means. One person that you connect with on LinkedIn or one blog that you post on Facebook, can be accessed and viewed by hundreds which leads to potentially thousands of contacts viewing your content. Through social media, your marketing and outreach can grow exponentially. Look forward to the next article, which will discuss social media in greater detail.