Integrating Your Marketing Team into Your Technical Team
All too often, marketing and business development efforts can seem siloed from technical efforts in the A/E/C industry. We’re driven by different deadlines, often focused on different projects, and generally able to go about our day-to-day jobs with little content-heavy interaction. The central problem with that fact is this – your marketing team needs to understand every facet of your technical projects, processes, and design techniques in order to effectively sell your firm. If I am your lead marketer and I can’t convince you that I understand engineering, how am I going to write a proposal for your top client or strategize an effective market expansion plan?
The question, then, is how does a firm integrate its marketing team into its technical team to provide that level of expertise and education? Here are three ways that have worked at Calibre:
1. Encourage participation in technical industry organizations
Similar to learning a foreign language, immersing oneself in technical content is a great way to learn about our industry. Participating in technical organizations will give your marketing person the opportunity to hear about projects and techniques, as well as to interface with clients and teaming partners. It offers those marketing and BD folks a chance to exercise their social skills and add to their technical understanding.
2. Invite your marketing staff to project meetings
Much like the above technique, this option allows your marketing people to immerse themselves in a project and in technical content. The more involved you can encourage your marketing person to be, the more effective this technique is. For example, taking meeting minutes, coordinating schedules, handling budgets, drafting technical content, and other facets of daily technical work will help solidify this content.
3. “Workshop” your technical proposal sections
In our industry, technical proposal sections, such as the project approach, are often either (1) written entirely by technical staff or (2) copy-pasted by marketing staff and reviewed by technical staff. Instead, try giving your marketing person an in-person, verbal step-by-step of how your firm will handle a project and ask him/her to take a shot at the first write up. From there, work together to finalize and perfect the approach section.
If you’re looking to maximize the potential, knowledge, and efficacy of your marketing team, encouraging them to be a part of your technical business will lend immediate results. Even adding just one of the above techniques will help integrate your marketing team with your technical team, rounding out your company and having the added benefit of mutual respect and understanding between departments.
Emily Villines, CPSM, MA