Marketing Automation for AEC Firms – Driving Revenue Growth

Marketing automation will not put your AEC marketing program on auto-pilot, but it can put your business development efforts into overdrive. Automation can accelerate marketing performance by doing more – executing more tasks, nurturing more prospects, more consistently. As prospects interact with your firm, marketing automation and contact personalization technologies help differentiate your brand by delivering more relevant, consistent, and personalized content. 

Insights Before Automation

The logic that drives automation helps streamline your marketing strategy and provide clarity at each phase of your prospects’ journey. However, it is impossible to automate a process that you do not understand very well. Planning out your campaign requires a level of detail and insight into the problems, questions, and perceptions of your target market. For each segment or stakeholder, you may need to solve different problems for them or emphasize unique capabilities. A one size fits all approach is unlikely to earn you the opportunity to get in the door early, as a trusted advisor or partner. An effective AEC marketing solution takes in consideration, the risk that a project owner faces, and the need to position your knowledge and experience, early in the game.
Once you understand the needs and buying stages of your prospects, you can start applying marketing automation and break the mold of conventional thinking. Most firms are focused on securing an opportunity to submit a proposal. To a lesser extent, the emphasis is the same for manufacturers of technologies that architects and engineers use or building products or solutions that they specify.
In an industry with a very long sales cycle and many project stages, the bidding opportunities for each phase exist within a relatively short window in time. Once you’ve heard about a project, you might be too late to build a new relationship and a preferred invitation to submit your proposal.

What is Marketing Automation and How Can it Help an Architecture or Engineering Firm Win More Business?

A marketing automation solution is a software solution that you can leverage to execute repetitive or complex triggers or sequential marketing tasks in a streamlined and efficient way. As anonymous visitors interact with your website, automation can help you present relevant content based on their behavior, such as their referral source.
When a user exchanges contact information for some of your premium content, automation can help you segment them into the right lists and deliver follow-up emails that promote content that’s relevant to their interests. The process of automating response tasks and personalizing content to your visitor’s interests helps nurture leads through deeper phases of their selection process. Automation can also score your leads and notify your business development team about qualified opportunities to focus on the right prospects at the right time.
As a marketer, you can shift your investment of time from promoting and reacting to developing better insights about your customers, and optimizing your automation process to shorten the sales cycle and close deals more quickly.
Fortunately, marketing automation alleviates all these problems. It captures what your customers do online and offers several readymade solutions that allow you to immediately follow up on the actions prospects and other interested parties take when they peruse your website. So, what portion of your B2B marketing strategy will be leveraged within marketing automation?

Visitor Identification, Tracking and Metrics

You’ll be able to capitalize on each action taken by each individual prospect. You’ll know where visitors came from, what they clicked on, what they read, what they viewed, and the actions they took. You’ll be able to immediately follow up on those
All of this information will be made available to you in an easy to read and just as easy to interpret format. You’ll have all the tracking and metrics you need to define what portion of your website is working and what portion needs to be improved. From this you’ll be able to tweak your design and position high-value subjects, links, content, video and downloads, in optimal locations on your website. While the solution is meant to keep your audience engaged, it’s not hard to see how it can also help you improve your website’s layout.

Automated Email Marketing Campaigns

Email marketing is a critical portion of all automated platforms. It aims to keep your audience engaged by providing them with unique content and special offers. That content is tailored to where your prospect is in their buyer’s journey. However, it’s not just about following up on a given customer’s actions, but also about thanking them for their recent order. This makes automated marketing an ideal solution for up-selling and cross-selling. Customers place orders and they are immediately sent emails and reminders of other ancillary support products available for purchase. It’s about keeping customers engaged throughout the relationship and an automated marketing platform is the tool that makes it possible.
Marketing automation is highly-valued because of the information it provides marketers and how easily it is for them to act upon that information. For instance, has a prospect just asked you to contact them concerning an architectural design? Did a prospect download that recently published engineering whitepaper? Did a prospect spend a considerable amount of time on a specific video only to follow up that action by downloading a customer case study? Has a customer inquired about how your non-recurring engineering charges apply to new designs? In each instance, the automated platform will provide a specific message correlated to the action taken by the prospect. All of this is meant to help you guide your prospect to the next stage in the buying process.

Lead Scoring, Lead Management and Customized Web Forms

Any marketing automation solution worth pursuing must define the quality of the leads visiting your website. A grading system is used to define the value of a given prospect based on the actions they take. You grade the importance and relevance of certain customer actions and the system does the rest.
Lead scoring is a critical portion of the solution. It will help you immediately identify where your prospect is in their decision making process. Customized web forms are also beneficial as they allow you to provide that extra incentive to prospects on free downloads. The web forms capture contact details and add that all-important professional touch.
Don’t assume your AEC marketing team can’t benefit from an automated marketing platform. It’s not just for consumer markets. It has an application industry-wide and is something you should investigate regardless of where you are in the AEC supply chain.

Recap of the Functional Building Blocks of a Marketing Automation Engine?

Marketing Database – A central database of all of your relevant marketing contacts and the ability to update or categorize them into different segments via the rules and logic defined in your automation engine.
Workflow Engine – The sequences, triggers, if/then logic and steps, tasks and notifications that are executed based on both the user’s interactions and the rules that guide the campaign.
Analytics – Data that measures the behavior of every user and the performance of each lead as they advance through the buying process. By measuring each phase of the process, marketers can develop strategies for optimizing improvement.
In the last decade architecture and engineering firms have seen a rise in competition. In many parts of the U.S., the economy is doing just fine, and there are plenty of opportunities. However, as some regions face economic difficulty, firms shift resources to enter new markets. It doesn’t take much effort for a large organization to inject a few talented resources in a growing market. Those few operatives supported by the infrastructure of the mothership, just might be your next biggest competitor. You don’t have to be a big player to leverage inbound marketing and automation technologies. The benefits can help you protect your relationships and get a head start on your competition.

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