Full Sail Partners Blog

Common Blunders Made by Marketing Teams

What were they thinking? #SendNoods was a social media marketing campaign launched by Kraft foods in October 2020 to coincide with National Noodle Day to promote its famous macaroni and cheese. Back in 1985, Coca-Cola released a sweeter new formula known as “New Coke” to win back younger customers that switched to Pepsi only to be mocked for sacrificing its own identity. Then in 2010, Gap decided to redesign its beloved and established logo. After what must have been countless hours in meetings and who knows how much money, Gap released its new WordArt inspired logo. It caused a massive backlash from loyal customers and is known as one of the largest rebranding blunders in history. 

 

Whether your company is a big national brand or a small to medium sized business, everyone is prone to having a mishap when executing a marketing campaign. 

 

Perplexed by a blunder

Architecture and engineering firms are no different. Have you heard of the same firm submitting on the same proposal? Or, someone from your firm meeting with the same client the week before and you had no clue? 

 

However, it seems like many of these marketing snafus were avoidable if more due diligence was practiced. Reflecting upon the aforementioned marketing blunders, here are some common areas marketing teams overlook when creating an effective marketing campaign.  

 

Not Really Knowing Your Clients 

 

Thinking you know what your clients like and want can quickly upend any marketing effort before it begins. Because believe it or not, your assumptions are likely wrong. However, you can gain insight into your clients by practicing some due diligence by asking about feedback on previous marketing efforts and having conversations with key decision makers about their experience with your firm. What you thought your firm excelled at might actually be one of its biggest downfalls and this is something you surely do not want to promote as it will lead to future failures.  

 

At A/E firms it’s common to make assumptions about what’s really important to a client for a particular project. Your marketing and business development teams may craft an entire message campaign, including the proposal and presentation, based on those assumptions. What happens if you made the wrong assumption? Getting that feedback directly from the client helps to minimize the risk of making assumptions. 

 

Unclear Messaging 

 

Convincing a consumer to make a purchase is already difficult enough. Adding confusion with misleading or hard to comprehend information is for certain a marketing campaign killer. When creating your core messaging, you need to identify what problem you are solving with your product and how this benefits the end user. Additionally, this needs to be tested and optimized to resonate with your audience in a clear and concise fashion.  

 

Common in our industry is messaging that includes industry jargon and overusing acronyms. To ensure a more effective message, make sure the content can be understood by even those with no technical background. 

 

Using Bad (or No) Data 

 

Today, great marketing efforts are formulated around data. There is so much data out there and your firm probably collects and stores endless amounts of information about your clients, contacts, and projects. However, if your data is poorly organized and maintained, it’s likely old and misleading. In other words, bad data is just as bad if not worse than having no data.  

 

Having a robust CRM system, like Deltek Vantagepoint, will allow you to organize your data, and be able to analyze and find trends you can use to strengthen your marketing efforts. A CRM system also allows you to track what potential projects your firm is pursuing and contact interactions. This helps avoid the embarrassment of multiple people from your firm bidding on the same project! 

 

Testing 123... 

 

Great marketing campaigns are the result of trial and error. Even the brightest of marketing minds will agree that not all great ideas are effective. However, there are things that can be learned by testing that can be incorporated into a strong and impactful marketing campaign. Furthermore, most marketers use a A/B testing which uses two forms of something to learn which is more effective. This testing allows marketers to ensure their messaging resonates with their audience and does not offend anyone. 

 

Failing to Follow RFP Instructions  

 

In the AEC industry, many proposals are crafted with a focus on team qualifications rather than fee. Strong proposals can take countless hours and may never be “perfect.” The hope is that your client will read your proposal and select your team for the work. However, what if it never makes it to the review team?  

 

When a request for proposals is advertised, there are often fine-print details regarding the deliverable, such as font size, spacing, and page limitations. Even one page too many could disqualify your team from the review process. Before you put countless hours into that large, or small, proposal, be sure you read, reread, and understand the submittal details before getting started.   

 

Learning from Past Experiences 

 

Doing the same thing over and over again is considered insanity to many people. Well, if anything, it will probably drive you insane to continue to see the same poor results repeatedly. During the execution of a marketing campaign, it’s important to keep track of what is and isn’t working, and noting lessons learned that can be applied to future marketing efforts.   

 

Noting the results and best practices in a marketing campaign record is easy with Vantagepoint. This way your entire marketing and business development team can access and learn from the past experiences.  

 

Are You Willing to Share?  

 

Have you experienced a marketing blunder at your firm? Or, seen one in the industry? Share your experience in the comments below so we can learn from each other.

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