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  • The Opening Playbook: Building Business Relationships That Grow Revenue

    Contains 2 Component(s)

    Opening is everything that happens before the pitch that puts you in position to be bought. Coaches, teams, and athletes rely on playbooks to define orchestrated plays, patterns, and progressions that increase the likelihood of scoring. Similarly, once professionals get in the room with an ideal prospect that has a real, immediate need for help, they usually do a fine job of winning work. The problem is that too many professionals don't know how to get into that room in the first place. The Opening Playbook workshop presents and practices the prior actions that put trusted advisors in more of those opportunity-filled rooms more frequently.

    Our business culture promotes “closing" as the most vital element of selling. And why not? It implies tangible results now, not later. Based on the presenter's book of the same title, The Opening Playbook workshop takes a counterintuitive approach. Closing is finite. Closing is an end. Closing before you've appropriately opened a business relationship is the sound of a door shut in your face. Here's the mantra for the 21st century: Always Be Opening. Opening is everything that happens before the pitch that puts you in position to be bought. Coaches, teams, and athletes rely on playbooks to define orchestrated plays, patterns, and progressions that increase the likelihood of scoring. Similarly, once professionals get in the room with an ideal prospect that has a real, immediate need for help, they usually do a fine job of winning work. The problem is that too many professionals don't know how to get into that room in the first place. The Opening Playbook workshop presents and practices the prior actions that put trusted advisors in more of those opportunity-filled rooms more frequently. (1.25 CEUs)

    Learning Objectives:

    • How to pursue ideal prospects more successfully by playing in the “open field" or “white space" that competitors can't match.
    • Spend business development time more productively by concentrating specifically on the highest probability prospects.
    • Shift from a focus on closing deals to opening new business development relationships that put firms in position to be selected.
    • Participants will stop telling business development prospects what makes their firms so great and start engaging prospects in experiences that demonstrate their difference.
  • Explode Your Firm's Performance: The Business Case for Lighting the Fuse

    Contains 1 Component(s)

    Hear directly from the President & CEO of a once "old school" A/E firm and the revolutionary transformation of its environment, culture, and reward structure. The firm has engaged its employees in ways that have markedly evolved the 160-year-old organization in impressive ways. The results weren't immediate and required an ongoing “walk of faith" on the part of a newly transitioned leadership team. Framing all management and strategic decisions against the backdrop of the firm's prime strategic initiative was critical to the firm's positive outcomes. This presentation will illustrate an emphasis on an internal culture of leadership that runs in the background at all levels, improved business development and marketing results, better risk management, an increasingly engaged workforce, improved technical quality, customer service & retention, and internal coordination.

    Hear directly from the President & CEO of a once "old school" A/E firm and the revolutionary transformation of its environment, culture, and reward structure. The firm has engaged its employees in ways that have markedly evolved the 160-year-old organization in impressive ways. The results weren't immediate and required an ongoing “walk of faith" on the part of a newly transitioned leadership team. Framing all management and strategic decisions against the backdrop of the firm's prime strategic initiative was critical to the firm's positive outcomes. This presentation will illustrate an emphasis on an internal culture of leadership that runs in the background at all levels, improved business development and marketing results, better risk management, an increasingly engaged workforce, improved technical quality, customer service & retention, and internal coordination. The presentation will have an emphasis on the corresponding payback to the company, clients, and employees, as well as why all leaders interested in keeping their firms relevant should be doing likewise. (1.25 CEUs)

    Learning Objectives:

    • Becoming an Employer of Choice is only one side of an equilibrium equation; the other side must be recruiting and retaining Employees of Choice. The traditional employer-employee
    • Being an Employer of Choice isn't about giving more and more “stuff" to employees and it's not about being “touchy-feely" either. It's about creating an internal culture of high performance and high leadership that runs in the firm's background and consistently returns positive and sustainable results.
    • Sustainable cultural change takes patience, investment, a measure of faith, perseverance, and confidence. Setbacks can, and will, occur, results aren't immediate and there are skeptics abound. That's why so few firms get there - but you must get there if you want to remain relevant going forward. The world has changed!
  • Keeping the Client in Play: Managing Your Contacts Between Projects

    Contains 1 Component(s)

    With many clients, a significant amount of time elapses between the end of one project and the start of another. This is typically the time when the relationship with that client lies fallow. Yet, this is also the ideal time to ensure good references, get referrals, and demonstrate value from the engagement. This presentation talks about why that gap exists, what can be done during the gap (by both marketing and business development) to help you win business from similar clients, and how to ensure that the relationship with that client remains solid until the next project opportunity.

    With many clients, a significant amount of time elapses between the end of one project and the start of another. This is typically the time when the relationship with that client lies fallow. Yet, this is also the ideal time to ensure good references, get referrals, and demonstrate value from the engagement. This presentation talks about why that gap exists, what can be done during the gap (by both marketing and business development) to help you win business from similar clients, and how to ensure that the relationship with that client remains solid until the next project opportunity.

    (1.25 SMPS CEUs/1.25 AIA LUs)

    Learning Objectives:

    • Learn why so many client relationships die off after a project ends.
    • Develop strategies for closing the loop between project end and next engagement so existing clients stay existing clients.
    • Get practical advice for how to overcome obstacles when it comes to to gathering references, referrals, and ongoing client communication.
  • Instagram Killed the Glamour Shots Star: Differentiating with Imagery

    Contains 1 Component(s)

    Darrin Scott Hunter, an architectural photographer, identity designer, and corporate trainer will lead this session explaining his unique perspectives on making and using A/E/C-specific imagery, from photography through information graphics along a "spectrum of representation" to differentiate marketing approaches toward internal business unit audiences and external competitors.

    On May 30, 2013, the Chicago Sun-Times did the unthinkable. It fired its entire photography staff and mandated iPhone photography training for its field reporters. And the time may be coming when the A/E/C industry could consider it, too. Does that sound crazy? This is a provocative example of what an industry on the verge of extinction (newspapers) is driven to do to survive in an image-saturated and social media driven information culture: make and use nearly free images.

    Darrin Scott Hunter, an architectural photographer, identity designer, and corporate trainer will lead this session explaining his unique perspectives on making and using A/E/C-specific imagery, from photography through information graphics along a "spectrum of representation" to differentiate marketing approaches toward internal business unit audiences and external competitors.

    Hunter will provide a case study illustrating the roles of social media platforms, traditional "glamour shot" architectural photography, and the rise of video content. Small group workshop exercises will provide a clear system of alternative image sourcing strategies, and methods for evaluating best practices toward "brand channeling" and cost control. (1.25 CEUs/1.25 AIA LUs)

    Learning Objectives:

    • Write a photo shoot creative brief that outlines needs, simplifies logistics, and guides photographers toward on-brand imagery.
    • Focus the content of marketing imagery on firm differentiators using the right media channels to support selling actual services.
    • Strategize an image sourcing process that controls cost, increases coverage, helps to manage usage rights, and diversifies stylistic range.
  • Between Zero and Priceless: How the Industry Is Tracking and Measuring ROI

    Contains 1 Component(s)

    When it comes to marketing and proposal efforts, you can't win every hand. But how do you know what you have in your hand? Measuring ROI remains a conundrum in our industry, but some of our peers are making strides by looking at metrics beyond the “bottom line," or proposal “hit rates" and Facebook “likes." This session is based on an SMPS survey conducted July 17-July 31, 2013, where A/E/C marketers shared ways they're making headway to unravel the mystery of ROI. Learn how peers approach the ROI measurement problem in three different marketing areas: 1) Proposals, or specific client pursuits; 2) Marketing awareness and publicity including press releases, advertisements, emailers, newsletters, and more; 3) Marketing events including conferences, office openings, ribbon cuttings and more.

    When it comes to marketing and proposal efforts, you can't win every hand. But how do you know what you have in your hand? Measuring ROI remains a conundrum in our industry, but some of our peers are making strides by looking at metrics beyond the “bottom line," or proposal “hit rates" and Facebook “likes." This session is based on an SMPS survey conducted July 17-July 31, 2013, where A/E/C marketers shared ways they're making headway to unravel the mystery of ROI. Learn how peers approach the ROI measurement problem in three different marketing areas: 1) Proposals, or specific client pursuits; 2) Marketing awareness and publicity including press releases, advertisements, emailers, newsletters, and more; 3) Marketing events including conferences, office openings, ribbon cuttings and more. This interactive workshop that will enable participants to: think about what ROI metrics would be critical based upon their own firm's marketing strategies; learn how to quantify qualitative marketing outcomes; identify processes and tools needed to track and analyze those metrics; and, have more confidence to institute marketing ROI programs in their own firm. (1.25 SMPS CEUs/1.25 AIA LUs)

    Learning Objectives:

    • Understand the importance and challenges of measuring ROI
    • Learn industry best practices as identified through the results of the July 2013 SMPS survey on measuring marketing ROI.
    • Identify what metrics are critical for their own firm's marketing strategies and determine what tools and processes they need to implement a ROI tracking program at their firm.


  • How the Recession Commoditized the A/E Firm + What To Do About It

    Contains 1 Component(s)

    During the recession, a large owner of gas stations and convenience stores issued an RFP for assistance renovating a good portion of its locations as part of a major rebrand -- an RFP that normally would have received 15-20 responses yielded over 11k. While economic conditions have improved drastically over the last few years, the signs of commoditization are still all around us. Yet, we're not talking about them. This program will do just that. We will share key indicators that commoditization is still a very real problem for many architecture and engineering firms, perspectives on the topic from marketers around the country, and suggestions for how marketers can help their firms “de-commoditize."

    During the recession, a large owner of gas stations and convenience stores issued an RFP for assistance renovating a good portion of its locations as part of a major rebrand -- an RFP that normally would have received 15-20 responses yielded over 11k. While economic conditions have improved drastically over the last few years, the signs of commoditization are still all around us. Yet, we're not talking about them. This program will do just that. We will share key indicators that commoditization is still a very real problem for many architecture and engineering firms, perspectives on the topic from marketers around the country, and suggestions for how marketers can help their firms “de-commoditize." (1.25 SMPS CEUs/1.25 AIA LUs)

    Learning Objectives:

    • Identify the key forces driving the commoditization of the practice to raise awareness of the issue with firm leaders.
    • Access real world indicators that commoditization is still a very real problem.
    • Identify paths to “de-commoditize" the firm and build a highly differentiated firm.

  • Many Roles, Many Hats. Perspectives from "Do it All" Marketers and Business Developers

    Contains 1 Component(s)

    Do you wear many hats in your firm as a marketer? In many firms, marketers are tasked with proposal and collateral development, but might also engage in: business development, graphic design, public relations, trade shows, advertising, and coaching. It is important to remain organized and sane while investing in your professional development. How do you successfully do it all? How are you evaluated for such a diverse role? Being the one and only marketing and business development person in your firm may come in different forms or have different titles. If you are the only source for business development and marketing in your firm, you must have a unique combination of skills: vision, creativity, design capabilities, strong writing and proposal development skills as well as sales and relationship building skills – all of which work together to help sell your firm's services. This session addresses a number of strategies and perspectives used by marketers who are the single source for marketing and business development in their firms.

    Do you wear many hats in your firm as a marketer? In many firms, marketers are tasked with proposal and collateral development, but might also engage in: business development, graphic design, public relations, trade shows, advertising, and coaching. It is important to remain organized and sane while investing in your professional development. How do you successfully do it all? How are you evaluated for such a diverse role? Being the one and only marketing and business development person in your firm may come in different forms or have different titles. If you are the only source for business development and marketing in your firm, you must have a unique combination of skills: vision, creativity, design capabilities, strong writing and proposal development skills as well as sales and relationship building skills – all of which work together to help sell your firm's services. This session addresses a number of strategies and perspectives used by marketers who are the single source for marketing and business development in their firms. (1.25 CEUs)

    Learning Objectives:

    • Gain perspective from professionals who perform both marketing and business development functions for their firms.
    • Learn tips on how to better organize their time in managing the activities needed for both responsibilities.
    • Gain perspective on how to sell this unique dual skill with their firm's upper management as well as negotiate and help determine performance goals for their position where possible.
  • Marketing Your Firm on a Limited Budget

    Contains 2 Component(s) Recorded On: 02/16/2016

    As a marketer within an A/E/C firm, you understand how budgets are constantly scrutinized. Being sure to keep overhead low helps improve your firm's bottom line, but makes proactive marketing quite a challenge. High-dollar marketing investments are frowned upon and often aren't even realistic. Our February webinar will focus on how to put together a sustainable, highly effective marketing presence without breaking the bank. When is advertising worthwhile? How can you increase web traffic without paying for each click? What can you do to show sustainable growth in firm awareness? We'll tackle these subjects and more in this upcoming, interactive session.

    As a marketer within an A/E/C firm, you understand how budgets are constantly scrutinized. Being sure to keep overhead low helps improve your firm's bottom line, but makes proactive marketing quite a challenge. High-dollar marketing investments are frowned upon and often aren't even realistic.

    Our February webinar will focus on how to put together a sustainable, highly effective marketing presence without breaking the bank.

    When is advertising worthwhile? How can you increase web traffic without paying for each click? What can you do to show sustainable growth in firm awareness? We'll tackle these subjects and more in this upcoming, interactive session.

    Learning Objectives

    During this webinar, attendees will learn how to:

    1. Identify the best marketing efforts to utilize without committing to huge expenditures
    2. Prioritize marketing efforts and budget allocation based on your goals
    3. Implement tracking measures to monitor marketing success
    4. Understand which social media tools are most worth your time

    CEU Credits

    SMPS Webinars are approved for 1.5 continuing education units for the Certified Professional Services Marketer (CPSM) program and 1.5 learning units from the American Institute of Architects. Recordings of SMPS Webinars are approved for 1.5 CPSM CEUs.

    Per-Site Registration Fee*

    SMPS Member Site Registration: $179
    Nonmember Site Registration: $239

    *Remember: Webinars are open to your whole staff. Your team can participate from one location in your office for one fee. Register today and benefit from affordable, convenient, actionable learning and earn valuable CPSM CEUs and AIA LUs!

    Chris Denby

    CEO, Markitecture

    Chris Denby heads up Markitecture, where he helps large and small companies to define clear, effective marketing strategies and deliver powerful executions. Prior to founding Markitecture, he worked with well-known clients such as General Electric, TRC Solutions, Washington Gas, NAHB, and many others to create successful B2B, B2G and B2C communications. Denby holds a bachelor's degree in architecture and an MBA from Virginia Tech and is an SMPS member.

  • From Student to Prospect: How Educational Content Qualifies, Nurtures, and Motivates Leads

    Contains 1 Component(s)

    The words content and content marketing have been tossed around a lot lately, becoming marketing buzzwords almost overnight. But while much has been said about how to create content and on which channels to send it out, few instances have looked at the whole content-nurturing process. Attendees will learn the keys to a carrying out an educational content marketing plan. Through the plan, you'll learn how to increase qualified leads and nurture those leads throughout a guided course of engagement with the firm's specialties and services, using educational opportunities to soft-sell outcomes -- all while positioning the firm as a thought leader.

    The words content and content marketing have been tossed around a lot lately, becoming marketing buzzwords almost overnight. But while much has been said about how to create content and on which channels to send it out, few instances have looked at the whole content-nurturing process. Attendees will learn the keys to a carrying out an educational content marketing plan. Through the plan, you'll learn how to increase qualified leads and nurture those leads throughout a guided course of engagement with the firm's specialties and services, using educational opportunities to soft-sell outcomes -- all while positioning the firm as a thought leader. (1.25 SMPS CEUs/1.25 AIA LUs)

    Learning Objectives:

    • Discover types of content to produce, how to target it most effectively, and how to develop a content calendar.
    • Learn practical methods for producing robust educational content without breaking the budget and ways to gain enthusiastic participation from technical professionals.
    • Find ways to use educational opportunities to convey your firm's services and expertise to target audiences, fostering progressively closer engagements with qualified prospects. Understanding of A/E/C peers successfully educating target audiences with educational (soft-sell) content.
  • Module 3: Easy Ways to Use Graphics in Proposals and Presentations

    Contains 3 Component(s)

    Visuals resonate with people, and using graphics as well-thought-out ways to convey or enhance your message is key to keeping your audience engaged. You don't have to be a graphic designer to use graphics effectively in proposals—all you need is a little creativity.

    (January 27, 2016, at 1 p.m. ET)

    Instructor: Karen Kurta, CPSM, Senior Marketing Project Lead, Balfour Beatty Construction

    Let's face it, nobody looks at a proposal and says, “Yay, it's all words!” Yet most of the time we use pages and pages of text or wordy bullets and wonder why our message gets lost. Visuals resonate with people, and using graphics as well-thought-out ways to convey or enhance your message is key to keeping your audience engaged. You don't have to be a graphic designer to use graphics effectively in proposals—all you need is a little creativity. From tag lines and photos, to charts and infographics, this session will examine the graphic tools available to create better materials. Using real-world examples, we'll explore creative alternatives to traditional text and bullet points and cover tips and tricks for those with no graphic-design help.

    During the session, participants will:

    • Understand why visual communication is so effective
    • Learn about the most effective types of graphics and how to use them to support your message
    • Compare different methods of conveying information in proposals and presentations
    • Learn how to easily build simple graphics and see examples of them used in actual proposals and presentations
    • Learn about resources and tips/tricks for inexpensive stock fonts and graphics

    Karen Kurta, CPSM

    Senior Marketing Associate Cushman & Wakefield

    A three-time marketing excellence award winner, Karen excels in graphic design, photography, and proposal writing, specializing in assembling complex pieces into concise and cohesive marketing materials. She is known for efficiency, creativity, and the drive to continuously improve her skills.

    Her career spans various industries including construction and commercial real estate. For eight years, she managed complex proposals and developed presentations, graphics, collateral, advertising, and project photography for two global construction firms. She is currently a Senior Graphic Designer for Cushman & Wakefield—a global commercial real estate firm—where she provides graphic design, photography, and marketing support for over 40 brokers in two markets.

    Karen is a CPSM and a member of Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) and the Professional Photographers of America (PPA). She is also the owner of a Central Florida-based photography business specializing in real estate, portraits, and fine art.