Often A/E/C marketers spend most of their time coordinating and producing proposals. This is a very important part of the marketer’s job but also lead to proposal burnout. Yes, he/she may be involved in the strategy development or other pre-proposal activities. However, we can all agree that the proposal is the highest priority.
What about other ways a marketer can add value to his/her firm? Is there anything beyond the proposal effort? As a manager, can you provide other initiatives to combat the proposal burnout? If so, what are those?
In this article, I provide you with some ideas for initiatives where marketers can add value. Some you may already be a part of and others you may not have thought of. As either a marketing team member or manager of marketers, think about adding one or two of these initiatives to your next performance goals.
Does your firm currently have a client feedback program?
If so, marketing can and should be involved in the planning, design, and execution. A keen marketer can help formulate the feedback questions with a greater understanding of how the information may be used in future marketing communications. A marketer can also help coach the staff who are asking for the feedback or even collect the feedback on behalf of the firm.
If your firm doesn’t have a client feedback program, then start one. It is critically important to gauge how your firm is perceived in the eyes of your clients. Tap a marketer to lead the development and implementation of this program.
Firm branding is another area where a marketer can add value throughout the firm. You may already have templates for your proposals. Does your firm have brand and style standards? Are they documented? What other templates does your firm use throughout the project lifecycle—meeting minutes, reports, invoices, etc.? Is your brand consistent throughout those?
Branding goes beyond the templates. It is really the story of your firm and how your clients perceive your firm. Can someone in marketing lead an internal branding initiative? Maybe this initiative informs and reinforces your firm’s story, values, etc. to your internal audience.
Information Management Process
Whose firm’s information is 100% updated? Anyone? Bueller?
It’s a huge and ongoing effort to maintain your firm’s information. I don’t think any firm will have their information 100% updated because projects change daily. What I can recommend is to develop a process to maintain information. There are different points to collect and update information such as when a project begins and ends, or new employee starts at the firm. Another point in time to capture information is when a proposal is submitted.
How can a marketer help or lead the development of such processes? What other groups (Project Management, Accounting, HR, etc.) can that marketer involve to capture information or set up automated processes?
Holidays and Special Events
If your firm goes all out for Holidays or hosts regular special events, this is a great way to for marketing to be involved. You may already have committees for the Holiday Party, but can marketing help with the messaging and branding? Is there a unique way to market for your special event? Both internal and external events should be thought of as a marketing campaign with determined goals and outcomes. This presents great opportunity for your marketer to help guide these discussions and assist in the execution.
Strategic Plan Implementation
Most firms have a strategic plan. Often, they are developed by the executive team and look out several years. It is ideal to have at least the marketing leader at the table during the strategic plan development. However, when the plan is written and its time to implement, there are many opportunities for marketers at all levels to be involved.
A big component of a strategic firm’s success is having everyone in the firm on board with the plan goals. A marketing professional can bring a cohesive, creative and energizing communications campaign that can be used both internally and externally. Then, throughout the strategic plan implementation, similar communication campaigns are needed to provide updates and achievements.
Why Go Beyond Proposals?
You may be thinking that you can barely keep up with all your proposal deadlines so how are you ever going to be able to add more to your plate. I know. I hear you. However, I feel that it is very important for you personally and your career growth as well as your firm’s long-term value. Here’s why:
- Avoiding proposal burnout – Let’s face it, proposals are a hard and often thankless effort.
- Mixing things up – If we do the same thing over and over again, we get into a routine that maybe hinders our creative juices. We need to mix up our work products and tasks to avoid routine.
- Pushing out of our comfort zones – When we are tasked with initiatives outside of proposals, they could be projects in which we have never worked on. This pushes us to grow personally and professionally.
- Working with other teams – Working on initiatives that involve other departments exposes us to people we maybe haven’t worked with before. This gives you more exposure internally and maybe allows for more relationship building.
- Developing relationships with leadership – This is a probably one of the more important benefits. Many of these initiatives are probably led by principals or other executives at your firm. Maybe you only get to work with on specific proposals, if at all. Working alongside them outside the proposal environment is a great way to demonstrate other skills and value you bring to the firm.
Your Initiatives to Avoid Proposal Burnout
What initiatives outside the typical proposal efforts are you involved in to avoid proposal burnout? If none today, what one will you ask (or assign to your marketer) in this year’s goal setting?
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