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Why A/E Marketing Is A Career To Pursue

AE Marketing Career

Yes, working in A/E marketing can be a challenging career. So, why do I recommend that recent graduates with marketing, public relations, or journalism degrees pursue this line of work?

Well, the more I think about it the more thankful I am that I landed in this industry.

In my mind, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. Let me give you some examples:

The A/E Marketing Career Flies Under The Radar

Nobody goes to school with the express purpose of getting a marketing job at an architecture, engineering, or construction firm.

In contrast, my wife has a degree in pharmaceutical marketing. She went to college to work in the pharmaceutical market.

Construction is one of the biggest industries in the world. Yet, the profession of marketing in the industry flies under the radar.

Therefore, when the economy is good, it’s a job you can get. At this moment in time, the number of open positions for marketing coordinators in our industry is staggering.

When I graduated college, I struggled to find a job. And us “old timers” forget that, for many people right out of college, finding a legitimate marketing job can be extremely difficult.

Heck, finding a full-time job with vacation and health benefits can seem like a pipe dream to recent grads. And when you don’t know exactly what you want to do, the opportunities found at job fairs can be off-putting.

Starting out as a marketing coordinator, assistant, or a temp at an architecture, engineering, or construction firm beats the pants off many of the other “marketing” jobs available to recent college grads.

You Get To Do

Most industries are made up of large companies. Large companies often outsource the real work.

For example, if you worked in marketing for the Coca-Cola Company or Disney, your job would consist of managing outside consultants. As an entry-level marketer, you’d probably be assisting the person managing the consultants.

Or, you’d work at the agency. If you work hard, after a few years, maybe you’d meet a client or have some creative input.

Because most firms in our industry are small or mid-sized businesses, your input is almost immediate.

One of my very first days at an engineering firm was spent in a strategy meeting with principals from the largest architecture firm in the country.  That immediate immersion is rare in other industries.

If there is a PowerPoint to create, poster to design, or event to set up…you’ll be doing that.

You’ll be doing. The thing about doing is the more you do…the better you get. I believe our industry rivals any other when it comes to the opportunity to grow your marketing skill set.

This is especially true for entry-level marketers. If you take it upon yourself to learn new skills, after a few years in A/E marketing you’ll be very well rounded.

You Learn To Meet Deadlines

Think about it. In what other marketing job will missing a deadline cause the people you work with to lose their jobs?

That’s a tremendous amount of pressure to be under right out of college.

But you, like thousands of others before you, will rise to the occasion. Why? Because you have no choice.

It will get to the point where you’ll have little sympathy for anyone missing deadlines. Not delivering by the deadline will just seem inexcusable to you.

Honestly, that’s going to cause you some frustration when dealing with others. But at the end of the day, you’ll have a much better sense of what can truly be achieved in 24 or 48 hours. Other industries don’t always force you to think like that.

You Can Find Yourself

In A/E marketing, you typically start out doing just about everything or by focusing almost exclusively on proposals.

Almost everyone I know, including me, started like that.

But where you go from there is ultimately in your hands. I’ve known so many people who have branched off into business development, became a marketing director, got a communications position at a mid or large sized firm, went on to manage large proposal teams, or even started their own communications firm.

Frankly, I can think of very few A/E marketers whose career hasn’t evolved in some significant way over the years.

What I’m saying is a marketing position in the A/E industry brings with it enormous growth opportunities.

It’s OK To Be You

I don’t even want to mention this. But I feel I must.

Whether you are an introvert, omnivert, or extrovert, there is a role in our industry in which you can excel.

Don’t believe the nonsense about needing “the right personality.” The right personality is whatever personality you have now.

I can tell you about the introvert who leads the communications efforts for a very large firm. I can tell you about the introvert that went on to bring in millions for his firm.

I can tell you about the omnivert with a phobia of public speaking and how working in this industry helped her overcome it.

I can tell you about a very weird and “unlikeable” guy who could succeed because he was judged by his results.

I can even tell you about extroverts who have been very successful swimming in a sea of introverted engineers.

No matter where your personality lands, there is a place for you in our profession.

I’m a big believer in adopting the right mindset. Doing so will help you succeed. But you don’t have to change who you are to succeed in our industry.

You’ll Get A Second Chance

Just imagine you worked at the Coca-Cola Company and it just didn’t work out for you. Maybe you just don’t hit it out of the park in that first job.

There are two things that could happen. Worst case scenario is they keep you. And your fate aligns with the guy in “Office Space,” stuck in the closet with no chance of growth.

Another scenario is you’re let go. There’s not a thousand other soft drink companies, or even three, headquartered in your local area.  Your career in the soft drink market would likely be over.

There are more opportunities for second chances in the A/E industry. Staff whom I’ve “parted ways with” have gone on to be very successful at different A/E firms.

Looking back on it now, I can’t categorize my first position at an A/E firm as a success. But that experience had a lot to do with my later success.

I learned from my mistakes. And I brought what I was taught there to my new job. It was an invaluable experience.

It might be difficult at first. In fact, you may fail miserably. But it’s very likely that our industry will give you another chance to succeed.

The Bottom Line

Whatever industry you work in, there will be things to complain about. You’ll come across frustrating people. Your ideas will be shot down. You won’t always feel appreciated. These challenges are not exclusive to the A/E/C industry.

But I think you’ll be hard-pressed to find an industry where the potential to learn and grow is as great.

Now It’s Your Turn

Why do you think A/E marketing is a career to pursue. Share your thoughts in the comments.

Two Email Marketing Beliefs That Could Be Hurting Your Firm

Many firms send out email marketing campaigns. But there is a question that lingers in many marketers’ minds:

“Are we doing it right?”

“Right” is a nebulous term. If your goal is to trip and fall, tying your left and right shoe together is the right way to “tie your shoes.” Therefore, whether you are doing something “right” relies on what you are trying to achieve.

However, if your goal is either to bring in new clients or use email marketing to build trust and maintain relationships…

…there are some common beliefs that may be hurting your efforts. Let’s take a step back and rethink email marketing.

The Crazy Things People Think About Email Marketing

My personal trainer asked me if having an email list is important to a business. My answer was, “To me, it’s essential.” Heck, if not for email marketing’s ability to bring in new clients, I wouldn’t be able to have a “personal trainer.”

But his jaw dropped at the next thing I said:

“0.5%…that’s the rule of thumb for converting prospects on your list to paying clients.”

He found that very disappointing. But I explained to him that email marketing is a great tool to build trust with an audience you can truly help.

But there are two commonly held beliefs, I think you should avoid…like the plague.

Let’s Not Bother Our Clients

Think about your best friend. How often do you communicate with him or her? It’s probably fairly frequently.

Regardless of what they claim, too many firms don’t want to treat clients like a friend. They don’t want to bother their clients until those clients are in need of services again.

That’s a mistake. You need to treat your clients like friends. Therefore, you need to communicate with them on a regular basis. 

You can use email as a tool to help you maintain regular and consistent communication with you current, past, and future clients.

But then there is another related trap too many firms fall into.

Self-Serving, Valueless, Emails

Let’s get back to the concept of treating your clients like friends. Do you send your friends email with advertisements, about contracts you’ve won, or featuring your latest company picnic? 


You probably send him or her only helpful information, something they’ll find of value, or a tidbit they might be interested in. 

I believe there is a downside to sending your clients worthless and self-serving information. 

Again, is this how you would treat a friend? 

I believe every email should provide value to the reader.

And trust me, I’m not oblivious to the fact that I’m selling hard in some of my emails. But you’ll be hard-pressed to find an email I’ve sent that is devoid of value.

Is it harder to create value-based emails? Yes, it’s much harder. It’s more time-consuming. 

But it’s the “right” thing to do when communicating with your audience.

The Bottom Line

Communicate with your clients regularly with emails they’ll get value from.

Have any email marketing tips or tricks? Share yours in the comments.

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Angry A/E Marketers

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Should You Speculate During The Proposal Process?

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Why Are You Working Today?

why are you working today

It’s a simple question. Why did you come into work today? Why do you get up every morning, get dressed, and commute to the job you have? You could have any job. So, why do you, day after day, go to the one you have? If you are sitting there without a clear answer to […]

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