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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Measuring passion

You can download the first in the part of the SMPS Marketer article on Metrics at the Wordpress version of this blog at

I'm working on the second of a series of articles for the SMPS Marketer about the effective use of metrics in architectural, engineering and construction industry marketing. Yesterday, my ears perked up when the marketing representative for a highly successful West Coast architect said her practice had discovered a way to measure "passion". (I don't have permission yet to share who the architect is, but hopefully will soon.)

She said every project and pursuit is coded into the architect's accounting and project management systems. Once the "go" decision is made, the time and cost of pursuing the project is calculated.

She said the practice has discovered that the more time the Principal in Charge spends on the project at the pursuit stage, the greater its chance of success. In other words, if the PiC simply hands the file over to the marketing department and tells junior staff to use boilerplate material to get the proposal ready, it will likely fail. If the PiC engages and spends significant time, it will succeed.

This metric makes a lot of sense even if it doesn't come to mind immediately. After all, why would a Principal spend a lot of time on the pursuit of a project unless it really mattered and the principal really wanted it to succeed? The conclusion, also, is that Principals who spend more time on individual pursuits are likely to be much more aware of the importance of success of the project, and unable to blame its failure on external forces. This is the classic quality vs quantity story.

The practice only recently implemented strong metrics systems, but is noticing changes. Note that this type of measurement requires a robust interface between marketing and accounting/time management systems, and clear rules requiring participation -- Principals cannot sluff off their responsibilities by saying "this isn't my way of doing things."

Nevertheless, I think businesses of all sizes can learn from this example. If you are the person in charge of the project, takes time to get involved and uses delegation as a support but not as a replacement for real energy and commitment, you have discovered your passion for success.

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