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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The real world of AEC marketing -- a success story

(Caption copy from USA Today/AP with input from JMWA Architects) This computer generated image provided by JMWA Architects, shows the lobby from one of the five new immigration facilities scheduled to open in South Florida this summer. Designed by Rodolfo Acevedo, a new U.S. citizen from Argentina, the offices will have big, comfortable waiting areas, indoor playgrounds and Internet cafes, and do away with the current unfriendly or unwelcoming facilities.

In my research for the story about Public Private Partnerships for the SMPS Marketer, Diane Valentini, Director of Marketing and Business Development at JMWA Architects in Boca Raton, FL, communicated with me the story about her company's success in designing under tight schedule five Citizen and Immigration Services (CIS) building projects in South Florida under federal PPP guidelines.

She initially told me she didn't know if her story represented a marketing success because, in many ways, the opportunity almost fell into JMWA's lap. But , to me, this story represents the essence of successful AEC marketing -- you do the work with existing clients so well that they call you for assistance in a crunch, and then, without giving away the store (JMWA received assurances their direct costs would be covered), you pull out the stops in a crunch, and do a great job to win the big opportunity. Here are some further notes from my Marketer article.

JMWA Principal and Project Architect James Williams says the General Services Administration (GSA) posted a Solicitation for Offers for the new buildings, with points awarded for price, location of the site, quality of working relationships between the project proponents, and (most importantly) the actual building design. He said one of his clients, a local developer, had an unused in the declining Florida real estate market. A Washington, DC based developer, knowing about the GSA proposal, saw the site, and encouraged JMWA’s client to submit a proposal.

“We had just two weeks to meet the deadline,” he said. “The developer asked if we would prepare our design proposal at cost, which was reasonable to us . . . we aren’t interested in working with people who expect us to do the design work for free in hopes of winning the job but accepted that we wouldn’t make a profit on the initial design if it failed to go further.”

When Citizenship and Immigration officials saw the design, “they loved it”, so much they encouraged the developer to scout out the other sites in South Florida to build similar buildings. In the end, within an intense and shortened time-frame, JMWA designed five LEED Silver certified buildings; with a time frame from initial design to completion of less than two years.
Note this success required no outbound calling, pushing, irritating sales calls, or for that matter, any selling at all. Just great work, and intelligent, rapid and creative response to client requests and the opportunity.

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