Even worse, you really dislike the idea of Marketing. Not a mixer. Not a glad-hander. Hate the idea of selling. On the other hand, you love design and turning ideas into projects. You made the leap. You designed a terrific office. You selected designer chairs, artistic tables, designer coffee mugs and imported coffee to be brewed. There just aren't any clients. Very few, and it can threaten you and your firms' existence. But if there were, wow! Let the party begin. But there aren't.
"Marketing is one of the four legs of the table that supports your practice. It's not an option."
Marketing is a learned skill, just like design. And just like design there are those with some natural talent or connections, and then there's the rest of us. But there's hope for all of us. And the first, most important step is realizing that marketing is a key element of design, as are project management and firm management. Marketing is one of the four legs of the table that supports your practice. It's not an option.
While it's true that people buy from people, not websites, advertising or blogs - these elements, done well, can smooth the way to your firms' recognition and can turn those cold calls into warm calls. Marketing can turn, "I'm not familiar with your company." into, "Didn't I see your (project, community service, charity service, arts support) on line (in the mail, in my in-box, at an event) the other day?"
Now, here's the hard part. The process takes time - calendar time and your personal time. The best marketing programs, consistently delivered with a strong client centered message and absent any other activity, can take a year or more to take root. Your personal time, invested wisely in high visibility activities can amplify the success of your marketing program and accelerate the results. There is magic in the combination of both elements.
"Idea: seek qualified help to create and set up a marketing and BD program that will do the yeoman's job at spreading the word, reaching new people and developing a positive market presence for you."
No system is perfect, guaranteed or instant. On the other hand sitting alone in those designer chairs drinking coffee out of those designer mugs may not be doing anything for you either.
I'd enjoy a conversation and working with you to create a marketing plan to help put some wind in your sales. A great plan won't be free, but it doesn't have to break the bank either, and there are elements that you can self-produce. Let me help you use your design talent to sell your ideas while growing your business and reputation at the same time. Give me a call.
William M. Burwell is a retired Architect and Interior Designer whose career focused on corporate interior architecture in sole proprietorships, and partnerships from 9 to 120 staff. Bill retired in 2014 and began Burwell Consulting a Firm Marketing and Management Consulting firm, to share the wisdom and experience of those 45 years. Bill writes articles sharing his experience in four keystone practice areas: Marketing, Design, Project Management and Practice Management. He graduated from the University of Houston College of Architecture in 1971 and now serves the College on the Dean's Committee on Excellence. Check him out at www.burwell-consulting.com