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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Construction marketing: Metrics that matter

An intriguing challenge in architectural, engineering and construction marketing is determining metrics that truly indicate success.  Some are obvious:  Your cost per lead and conversion rate (lead to sales), your "hit rate" on proposals and so on.  These are useful, but each business often discovers metrics which indicate other things.

For example, HMC Architects in California discovered that the success of proposals directly correlated to the amount of time principals put into the process.  If the leading architects simply tried to dump the work on the marketing department, the proposals would fail.  If they spent hours of non-billable hours in preparing for the proposals, they would succeed.  So the practice included in its go/no go matrix a consideration of the pre-qualifying time the principals spent (it could do this because of comprehensive time accounting tools at the practice.)

As I researched the metrics topic for a series of articles for the SMPS Marketer magazine, one glaring quality came right to mind -- most practices don't even bother measuring their marketing effectiveness.  The argument is that the practices "know" what works and what doesn't, and the creative process determines what to do and what not.

Despite the strong arguments in favour of measuring marking effectiveness, I can see some reasoning in the nay-sayers.  Sometimes metrics are abused; sometimes the numbers are 'gamed' and sometimes you are simply measuring the wrong things.

As well, perhaps marketing metrics need to be considered within the overall business model.  Consider this blog posting:  "The only two business metrics that matter"

Here are the two business metrics that matter at Scout:
  1. Income per employee
  1. Employee happiness
Intriguing.  If we boil these metrics down to the basics, maybe you don't need much more --- if your employees are happy and productive, and the trends are in the right direction, you will be profitable, and your marketing will be successful.

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