You might be thinking, “but I don’t do any marketing…how can I be an important marketer?” Well, it is quite simple. Your work is what brings clients back when they need another building or a renovation. Your work is what makes clients recommend your firm to someone else who needs architectural services.
Top quality design, thorough documents, and a great demeanor are some important traits that firms look for in employees. Those are also some of the traits that clients look for in architects.
As you advance in your career, you move from being in the office creating the work, to having direct contact with clients, to going on interviews. Each step prepares you for the next, but each one is just as important as any other.
People work with other people. They remember the time when you went out of your way to keep a project on track. They remember the firm who created the perfect room with brilliant lighting. They remember that you fought for the design element that ended up being critical to the success of the project. They remember that you developed a detail that saved money without sacrificing quality.
Some larger firms employ business development or marketing staff. Their jobs are to identify, sort, and process pursuits for work. They also spend a lot of time reaching out to prospective clients and they stay in touch with current clients. However, there is one important thing they don’t do…and that is the work. They don’t have interactions with the client. They don’t create flawless documents or life-changing design schemes.
A good business development person doesn’t just take clients to lunch or out for drinks. They don’t just attend golf tournaments on behalf of the firm. Instead, they encourage everyone in the firm to stay in touch and be visible to the firm’s clients. They push you to attend that social event. They push you to speak at a conference so that you (and your firm) stay visible. They remind your clients about how great it was to work with you.
Your marketing efforts are much more valuable than those of the “marketing team” because the client knows you and appreciates your work. The most effective marking is doing great work and keeping your clients happy.