Discover your free Construction Marketing Ideas Email Newsletter

Friday, June 19, 2009

How important is it to measure your progress?

While researching the topic of metrics for The SMPS Marketer article due today, I asked the director of marketing and communications for a highly successful architectural practice in Toronto how her large, international practice, measures its success.

She said:

“We don't keep close stats, it (the hit rate) is very high; we get on every short list we submit.”

“If we measure our success it is in how the business is doing with new projects walking through door, and if we are doing what we want to be doing and love doing.”
I'm not identifying her or her practice publicly because she hasn't yet granted permission, but I believe much of the AEC industry has a similar attitude to formal metrics programs. They just "know" they are doing well, or not, and are happy with things that way.

Is this wrong? Marketers from other industries would shudder at the thought that they would conduct their work and not really know exactly how it is succeeding or failing.

But the marketer from this successful architectural practice has a point. With large scale, repeat, and growing business in some truly amazing markets, they know where they are at. Notably, she says while they win virtually every invitation to win proposals, they lose on the final cut primarily because they won't bend on their fees.

In other words, they only win jobs they know where they can earn a reasonable return for their work and maintain their quality. What good is a high "hit rate" if you are achieving it by undercutting your competition and working for virtually nothing?

On the other hand, I sense some simple metrics would really help this successful practice do even better. Analyzing your presentation to close/commission rate (for new and repeat clients) and the reasoning for the success/failure doesn't take that much research time for historical review (say over the past year or two).

Is the "failure rate" from fee undercutting increasing in some sectors more than others, and is it perhaps threatening the work balance of the practice? then again, maybe this practice really knows its stuff and intuitively can sense the trends. I know this is not scientific. But successful marketing is art as well as science, isn't it? And are successful architects more artists than scientists?

1 comment:

Patrick O'Toole said...

Hi Mark:
I enjoy your blog. Marketing measurement over time amounts to making your future spend more effective. Nice post!

Patrick O'Toole
Qualified Remodeler Magazine