A/E Marketers Are Not Your Gal Friday

A/E Marketers

In a time which the profession of marketing in the architecture, engineering, and construction industry seems to be gaining more and more respect…

…it is nice to be reminded, sometimes, just how ignorant people in our industry can be about our chosen field of work.

Just the other day, Lindsay Diven forwarded an article making the rounds that is getting some AEC marketing blood boiling. (UPDATE: THERE WERE REPORTS THAT THE ARTICLE WAS DOWN, BUT IT SEEMS LIKE IT IS BACK UP.)

The article is called, “8 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Do A/E Marketing.” Ironically, it was posted on the PSMJ blog. PSMJ, as I understand it, is one of the bigger business/management/marketing consulting firms in our industry.

Why they would post this turd is beyond me. And I’m going to explain why it should be immediately deleted.

The Article’s Point

The point I think this article is trying to make is that marketing positions in the “A/E industry” are tough. The author, David Whitemyer, seems to believe you have to have specific traits or you’ll fail (or just wimp out and give up).

Dave says, “There’s a reason why most architecture and engineering (A/E) marketing professionals only last a few years in each firm: They’re just not ready for the speed and heavy workload.”

Oh really?!?!?

Before I Tear This Post Apart

I want to say to Dave, who I don’t believe I’ve ever met, is…

…I get it.

You’ve got to post something on the blog. You’ve probably got a quota to fill or a deadline to meet.

You’ve read that “list posts” can get traction. They’re easy to write. Just pull some list out of your butt and 500 words later you’ve got your article. Commitment met.

Many bloggers operate that way so maybe we shouldn’t hold you to a higher standard.

We’ve all got a job to do including you. So, again, I get it. It was “just content.”

But Seriously Dave?

Your list portrays a total disrespect of and ignorance regarding our profession. I don’t think that’s the image you want to portray. Nor do I think that’s an image PSMJ wants to be associated with.

What I’ll try to do here is explain why you should not only delete this post but completely reexamine your perception of our profession and the people who work in A/E marketing.

Let’s look at some of the more egregious reasons why you say marketers should stay away from the A/E industry.

You’re Introverted

Dave, I don’t know how many A/E marketers you’ve worked with. But don’t fall into believing the outdated stereotypes that have been scientifically disproven again and again.

Extroverts are not more effective at selling. Spend some time looking at the science.

In no way am I an extrovert. My wife would describe me as a hardcore introvert. Yet, it would be tough to argue my success, especially when it comes to proposals or business development.

And there are many other successful A/E marketing introverts in our industry, like Tim Klabunde (author of Network Like An Introvert).

Luckily, you don’t even need to look beyond your own statements to prove the “extrovert delusion” wrong. Later in your list, you claim:

“…according to PSMJ’s 2013 A/E Financial Performance Benchmark Survey Report, nearly half of A/E firms don’t have full-time marketing staff.”

Who do you think is bringing in all the work for those firms? Extroverts? I’m not sure how many engineering firms you’ve worked in, but let me tell you there are many introverted engineers pulling in BIG contracts.

And some of the best business developers, marketers, and proposal people I’ve had the pleasure to know are introverts or at least omniverts. If you need a list, let me know.

The most problematic assertion you make, in this section, is that marketers have to be “bubbly” people. You’d have to be crazy to think a “bubbly personality,” with all its not so subtle sexism, is your ticket to success in the A/E marketing world.

Do you honestly think HNTB hired Nancy Ursey to lead their design-build marketing strategy because of her “bubbly personality?” When I think of Nancy, I see a person whose subject matter expertise is unquestionable. I see a professional who those in the field should aspire to be.

There are many strong female role models in the A/E marketing profession. I’ve been lucky enough to list women like Laura Ricci, Ann Banning Wright, and Tracy Doyle as some of my mentors. From what I’ve experienced, they were successful because they were strong willed, insightful, persistent, and determined.

Your use of the “b word” will rightfully incite a lot of anger and should be rescinded immediately.

You Think Nobody Appreciates You

This is one of the most “jerkish” passages I think I’ve ever read. You state:

“Your skills are very different than those of the architects and engineers that surround you, and they’re essential to a firm’s marketing efforts, but it’s the architecture and engineering skills on which the firm’s strength is built. If you feel underappreciated, get over it.”

Let’s take a second because the thousands of people who will read that quote will probably need a moment here.

Take a deep breath, and let’s talk about it.

Dave, take a look at Engineering News Record’s list of the Top 500 Designers. Are you so delusional to believe that the top firms on that list are there primarily because of their architecture and engineering skills?

Sure, no firm would be up there without architecture and engineering skills. What I’m saying is how can you possibly discount their superior strategy, processes, and culture (particularly when it comes to marketing and business development). I hope you can agree that you don’t get into the top 10 on that list without marketing (which includes strategy) and business development.

When I look at a firm like AECOM, I think of their superior strategy (in particular their acquisition growth strategy).

And guess what, the president of AECOM is not even an architect or engineer. Are you saying, as someone who doesn’t “do the work,” he doesn’t deserve the same appreciation or respect that an architect or engineer in his firm gets?

Do you see how ignorant that mentality is? Or at least can you admit you probably should rethink it?

You’re Too Rigid

This is the most shocking point you make. It relates the #1 challenge people working on proposals are faced with.

You say:

“If you’re a strong A/E marketing professional, you’ve got a good handle on the schedules and tasks required to develop solid proposals and presentations. However, the reality of these schedules and tasks is that they’re probably going to change during the process – and probably at the last minute.”

Is this what PSMJ teaches in their proposal seminars?

“Just throw it together at the last minute…that’s the PSMJ way.”

I highly doubt that’s what your organization teaches.

Listen, we’ve all scrambled when getting a last minute RFP addendum. But other than that, there’s no reason you can’t submit proposals early.

If you have good people and the proper systems in place, the “last minute” nonsense is completely avoidable.

A/E marketers can get home for dinner. They can make their kid’s recital.

They are not your toilet. They are not your license to procrastinate. They are not your “gal Friday.”

In the last several years, a wealth of information has come out to help proposal teams with this problem. My book is a good starting point. But the system in The Magic of Winning Proposals can help you do this as well.

Heck, even Meg Winch just wrote an article in SMPS marketer about how proposal teams can use “lean concepts” to help address this issue.

The Bottom Line

Dave, as I’ve explained, I get that your article probably wasn’t written with bad intentions. However, I think your mindset, intentionally or unintentionally, shines through your list. Frankly, you are not the only one with these outdated ideas or misinformed conclusions.

But to see this coming from PSMJ is deeply disturbing. Your organization should be an advocate for A/E marketing. You should be a force helping our industry evolve away from long-held beliefs that stem from ignorance (and latent sexism).

I’ve only touched on the most ignorant items on your list. But nearly every item you list is questionable (at best).

I’m formally requesting that you delete this post immediately. And in the future, I hope you can exhibit more respect and a better understanding of our profession.

If You’d Like To Contribute Your Two Cents

Comments are not enabled on Dave’s blog post. But he can be reached at [email protected] And Frank Stasiowski, the CEO of PSMJ, can be reached at [email protected] I just ask that, if you choose to email, you show these people the respect you would like to see from them.

I invite anyone to air dissenting opinions in the comments to my post. I just ask that you refrain from personal attacks, which I think I’ve done here.

Comments

  1. Jana Brickey says:

    I read the PSMJ article and felt like I had stepped back in time. I think the AEC Marketing profession has gained leaps and bounds in contributions to our individual firms and the industry as a whole.

  2. I read the article by David Whitemyer, and I think it should be titled “Things to consider before becoming an A/E/C Marketer.” Usually, these types of positions encompass a broad range of tasks that change every day. If someone is an introvert they shouldn’t turn down a great A/E/C Marketing Job offer because they are afraid… They should recognize their weaknesses and determine how the potential position could help them get better in those areas. Whitemyer seems to have some sense of what it takes to succeed this these positions, but no optimism for anyone who doesn’t immediately meet his criteria. My advice: There is a lot of opportunity out there in the A/E/C industry for recent grads, and it is an excellent place to start a career with a focus in marketing and business development.

    • Matt Handal says:

      Devon,

      Be careful buddy. I do agree that recent grads and introverts should not be scared away. But read Adam Grant’s research before you conclude that extroverts will be more successful in marketing or business development. There are reasons to conclude that extroverts are actually at a disadvantage.

  3. Bryan VanGilder says:

    Looks like Dave should review his work. Spend needs to be “spent” in the 3rd sentence. I guess his AIA cert didn’t prepare him sufficiently or he’s just being bubbly.

    1. You’re focused on your career more than on your firm.

    A/E marketing professionals are notorious ladder climbers, jumping from firm to firm, looking to up their titles and salaries. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it shouldn’t be the sole focus of your work. Your efforts should be spend building the reputation and marketing materials of your firm, not of yourself. And if done well, you can find great enjoyment in that.

    • Matt Handal says:

      Thank you for commenting Bryan, but let’s not nitpick Dave’s use of the English language. If errors in blog posts were an indication of lack of intelligence, I would be the town idiot. I can’t throw stones.

      Also, I think there is a difference between wanting to climb the career ladder and being a job hopper. I think it’s good to achieve things at your current firm that look good on your resume. But I think there’s not much you can truly achieve in a year or two.

      Improving your firm’s success is something you should keep focused on. But I think “job hopping” can be a big indicator that you haven’t been successful. I have a post about that coming out in the future.

      • Bryan VanGilder says:

        Yes, I agree about the typo. It was just my lame attempt at trying to point out that marketing professionals help prevent issues with accuracy in all situations and David seems be in need of those services.

        Can’t wait to see your piece on changing jobs!

      • Eileen Loschky says:

        Job hopping, as you call it, can also be because there is no such thing as job security and most companies don’t do anything to retain loyalty of their workers. I job hop for more money, better benefits, and the opportunity to learn new skills. I think, as of this day, I make more money and have better benefits than if I had stayed with one firm all these years.

        I know that if a company does poorly for a quarter or the year and they decide they need to lay people off, being loyal, being excellent at your job, or even being there for many years is no reason to expect job security. I’ve seen this happen too many times in my long career to stay where I am if a better opportunity is offered.

        • Matt Handal says:

          Eileen,

          You are right. The days of job security are over. You are either invaluable or disposable.

          And it sounds like you’ve made the right moves. But keep in mind, you were at Atkins for five years. On top of that, you left Arcadis and they brought you back. If I was to see you as an applicant, in no way would I consider you a classic “job hopper.” Your job history would make me want to hire you more, not less. Heck, if you want to move to Philly let me know. 🙂

          I’ve seen applicants whose average stay at a firm is 1 year. And that’s not you. But that’s what I would consider a job hopper.

          Again, I’ve got a post drafted on that.

    • The post has been removed so in fairness I can’t comment on the actual entry. However, I would like to commend you for your tactical approach and commentary. For sure these type of dismissive attitudes, biases and misinformation are declining in our industry, but the referenced blog is a great reminder that they still exist. Professional marketers need to be armed with facts and intelligent arguments to combat such ignorance, reinforce their value, and dismiss the “haters.” I encourage every marketer to add your rebuttal should to their arsenal for two reasons. First, your response was passionate but it didn’t slip on calling “B.S.” There are times when a passive reaction just won’t do. Secondly, it clearly shows the kind of attitudes and mindsets that you want to identify and uncover when you’re on a job hunt. Honestly, companies and managers that condone these types of attitudes towards marketing professionals shouldn’t have any quality candidates to choose from.

  4. Melise Gerber says:

    I think Dave’s attitudes are likely the reason that marketers that he knows are “notorious job hoppers,” rather than anything intrinsic to the role. It also seems to me that any marketing person who focused more on finding another position than successfully marketing their firm’s work is going to very quickly discover that they can’t find another position, because they don’t have the skill set or reputation to get hired.

    • Matt Handal says:

      Frankly, the job hopping problem stems from multiple things. Yes, it’s a problem. But many of the people I know in this industry would NOT be considered job hoppers.

  5. Matt, thanks for your passion and candor around this article; also for making the point that PSMJ may wish to curate their bloggers’ posts better, in that the one we’re all talking about is a big credibility leak for the organization.

    I responded briefly on LinkedIn to Lindsay Diven’s point and so won’t repeat myself. However, there are two irritants that still stand out to me around Dave’s post:

    One: the frustrating misconceptions so many folks have about introverts. Introverts are those who recharge energetically through solitude; extraverts are those who derive energy from hanging out with people — the more, the better. Neither is a predictor of how good or bad one might be at sales, BD, or marketing. I have met extraverts who aren’t that interested in people as people — a terrible stance for someone in a BD or sales role. And as you point out, there are too many examples of introverts who excel at BD — partly because many introverts are great at one-on-one interactions. It’s terribly limited and ignorant to view introverts as having a “weakness” that might preclude them from a BD or marketing role, as someone suggests above.

    Two: the “bubbly” comment really gets under my skin. It’s sexist, misogynist, and ignorant. Women marketers in the industry are quite fatigued by the prevalence of sexism and bias as it is (and excel nonetheless). Needless to say, such bias hurts everyone, men and women. For PSMJ to lend their name to a blog post that perpetuates such a retrogressive view is shameful and, again, dilutes their credibility.

    P.S. I LOVE the title to this blog post.

  6. Laura Ricci says:

    Humm. I guess the revolving door Dave created for his Marketing Staff, got to him. Pretty amazing that this piece got posted. Very embarrassing for PSMJ. But I’m forwarding this piece to a couple Proposal Directors who will be interested to know where they might find folks willing to jump ship.

  7. There are lots of great points in your article, and as an engineer-turned marketer, I think I can see both sides of the same coin.

    My observation is that the higher people’s schooling is in their professions, the more they look down on sales and marketing (a.k.a. business development).

    Also, in struggling companies, business developers get paid a lot less than subject matter experts. In profitable companies, it’s the other way round. They understand Peter Drucker: “Because its purpose is to create a client, the business has two – and only two – functions… Marketing (you get paid for creating a customer) and innovation (you get paid for creating a new dimension of performance). Marketing and innovation produce results, all the rest are costs.”

    When buyers ask me about why marketers should be paid as much as a subject matter experts, I refer them to the Stan Shih smile curve: https://chaitravi.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/smiling-curve-2.jpg.

    That’s when they, well, the smart ones, understand that they are not built on engineering expertise, but on marketing expertise. That a great marketer and competent engineers make more money than a merely competent marketer and the world’s best engineers.

    I’ve read somewhere that, “An army of deer led by a lion is more fearsome and dangerous than an army of lions led by a deer.” So, firms need is not a bunch of superstar domain experts but a superstar marketer.

    And by superstar I don’t mean someone with the fanciest MBA as schooling has nothing to do with education.

    Again, thanks for the eye-opening article.

    • Matt Handal says:

      Wow Tom,

      Thank you for the insightful contribution.

    • “nothing happens until someone sells something”

      Offensive to anyone not in sales but true nonetheless.

      The easiest person to sell something to is a salesman. A salesman knows performance. The very best salesmen use VERY sophisticated tools. None of them use cobbled up homemade junk- they leave that to their competitors who constantly wonder why they cannot catch up.

      I am reminded of the story of the engineer, architect, salesman and their ‘talented’ dogs…

  8. Angela Smith says:

    To me, this article seems to be tongue and check and it seems you have missed that completely.

    • Matt Handal says:

      I’m not sure what indicated to you that it was “tongue and cheek”. If it was written in that manner, I think it would be pretty obvious. Again, this wasn’t on my radar until it was sent my way.

    • I agree, Angela. That’s how I read it.

  9. Apparently they took your advice. The article is no longer available.

  10. I read the article because you brought it to my attention to it. I felt it was a really dated (old school) view on the position. I also felt like the entire thing read a little passive aggressive IMO, like he was secretly venting about what he hasn’t liked about the various marketing people he has worked with over his career. I’m a big advocate at my job that the marketing personnel have the choice to go work for any industry or company that they choose, so treating people with respect and agreeing to and meeting deadlines that work for everyone’s needs is a requirement, not an option. We spend more time at our jobs than we do with our spouses, so being respectful and appreciate to others goes a long way. All that said, they pulled the article down a few hours after your email went out, so I’m assuming some people complained, rightfully so. As you stated it was a total turd.

  11. The blog post is still up on their site.

    • Matt Handal says:

      I noticed that too. It seems to be back up. It is possible PSMJ’s website couldn’t handle the traffic and it was temporarily down.

  12. If I were to reach out to David, this would be my response:

    I read your PSMJ blog post about the reasons you shouldn’t do A/E Marketing. If the pet peeves you outlined in your post are representative of the marketing folks you’ve worked with, I feel for you. That said, the tone of your article begs the chicken and egg question: Are you hiring “lazy, whiny” marketers because your contempt is so blatant that anyone else would steer clear? If you’re only willing to pay for and pay the modicum of professional respect deserving of “lazy, whiny, bubbly” people, that’s all you’re ever going to get to work for you. The rest of us have better opportunities to pursue and better colleagues with whom to pursue them.

    If, by chance, the true aim of your post was to embody the worst of the negative stereotypes AEC marketing folks might have of some of our professional practice colleagues, then you’ve succeeded admirably. You’ve managed present yourself both as a sexist and as an example of the Dunning Kruger Effect in action. Well done you. Thank goodness the type of architect/engineer you represent is, in my experience, the exception rather than the rule.

    I’ve been working for architecture firms in marketing for the past 20 years. I do it because I find marketing professional services endlessly interesting, because I love architecture and design and because I have a great deal of respect for architects and engineers. I’m an ambivert. I’m not “bubbly”, but I am both strategic and successful. If I’ve moved around, it’s not because I’ve ‘focused on my career at the expense of my firm’. More often than not it has been because when market conditions get tough, some firms see anyone non-billable as expendable or because some of the AE professionals I’ve worked for were better practitioners than business executives.

    I don’t mind a little sarcasm for the sake of making a point. I’ve used it myself on occasion. (https://wordpress.com/post/aecsarah.wordpress.com/309) What I object to in your posting is your open contempt for marketers and your inability to acknowledge that there are those of us who do see AE marketing as a profession and who serve their firms well and faithfully. If your post is a fair representation of the advice PSMJ has to offer, it’s advice I can do without.

    • Matt Handal says:

      Thank you Sarah,

      I doubt he reads my comments. I provided the email address. The best thing to do is copy and paste that into an email and send it to him and copy Frank, as others have done.

  13. Bryan VanGilder says:

    Here is a more useful article about just the writing aspect of what we do that came out today on CapturePlanning.com. After reading this, it becomes clear Dave does not know what he’s talking about.

    Proposal managers get all the glory and usually more money. Proposal writers are sometimes treated like low-skilled interchangeable assembly-line workers, as if any writer can do the job. But proposal writers are different from other forms of writers. And if you care about your win rate, it’s a difference that matters.

    Proposal writers are matchmakers as much as they are writers. They don’t merely articulate, they put things in context. They don’t merely find the right words, they find the right considerations to bring into alignment, and then find the right words to express it in a way that matters to the proposal evaluator. There is always more than one way to say something. Proposal writers consider multiple ways of saying things until they find the combination that produces the best chance of winning. Then they articulate it.

    Their skill at what to consider is as important as their skill at writing. First, they must consider RFP compliance. Then they must consider optimizing the language for the evaluation score. Then they must incorporate the company’s bid strategies and positioning. They might even need to reference the company’s strategic plan or branding guidelines. Then there is the consideration of graphics and visual communications which are often initiated by the proposal writers. And oh yeah, while they’re at it they must not only describe the offering, but do it while focusing on what matters about it. Doing this usually means collaborating with one or more subject matter experts who understand the offering, but usually don’t understand the context that it must be presented in. And all of this must be written not as simple descriptions, but from the perspective of what the customer needs to see to make their decision. They must translate not only the words, but the perspective as well.

    And this is just the mechanics. Considering the strategies, positioning, and other elements required to put the offering in a context that makes it the customer’s best alternative is where a proposal writer’s matchmaking skills come into play. Proposal writers create a match between you and your customer. Proposal writers create a match between your best attributes and strategies, and what the customer needs to see in order for you to be their best alternative. They not only produce a proposal, but they help you realize what your company needs to become to reach its full potential.

    While other forms of writing are pure art, proposal writing is just as much a process. It has a discovery phase, an assessment phase, a planning phase, and an implementation phase. It’s not just as simple as putting words on paper. It requires steps. In many ways, the writing part is the smallest. It’s one part writing and 999 parts figuring out what to write.

    Proposal managers provide vital leadership. They herd cats. They implement the necessary process. It’s a critically important role and very difficult. But proposal managers need writers who can do more than put RFP compliant words on paper. Proposal managers lead, but they require proposal writers to win. And just as all types of writers are not the same, they don’t all have the right skills to win.

    Think about that the next time you select a proposal writer. You aren’t selecting a writer. You are selecting a winner. And to win you need someone who understands how to put things in the right context.

  14. Many years ago, consultant Mary Breuer wrote the excellent, insightful article “Why Marketing People Fail.” I’m posting it here because her incisive points are just as valid in 2017 as they were in 2002. (The main reason? Many firms and firm principals, themselves unsophisticated about the value and power of marketing, set up their marketing hires to fail. They fail: to understand and define their firms’ marketing and BD gaps; to strategically define the role/s they’d like their marketer to fulfill; to hire the right people who can actually fill those gaps; to trust their marketing professionals to do the job they were hired to do. They make the mistake of hiring “personality” versus substance.) Here’s the link: http://www.di.net/articles/why-marketing-people-fail/

  15. Rose Fetter says:

    Love your response to David Whitemyer’s article! However, as much as I hate to say this there are still some A/E firms out there who believe marketing/sales staff shouldn’t be promoted to senior levels nor principals just for the very fact that they aren’t architects or engineers. I know, I’ve worked for one of them. Many times it’s due to this very reason why we marketers jump ship from the stodgy, outdated firms to companies who value their employees, are forward thinking and intelligent, and are innovative and creative. Maybe we are notorious ladder climbers and if so it’s due to gobshites like this who make us run.

    • Matt Handal says:

      Hey Rose,

      Great to hear from you.

      The thing many marketers might be unaware of is that each state has different regulations regarding the ownership requirements for licensed firms. In some states, everyone with any ownership would have to be licensed. I think that’s why you see a lot more construction firms with marketers in higher-level positions. So, depending on the state, I understand the hesitation to elevate a marketer to “true principal status.”

      But to take your comment even further, there are still architects and engineers out there who don’t believe what marketers/business developers do is anything more than “administrative work.” There are still people who are very disrespectful of our chosen profession.

      Worse yet, however unbelievable, I think we’ve been reminded that there are still men who want their marketers to be “bubbly” little girls they can treat like garbage. You are a perfect example of a marketing/bd professional that in no way fits that stereotype. And it’s also offensive to every guy out there who has chosen this as their career.

      I think everybody is just so shocked that this is coming from PSMJ. A lot of people feel they, of all organizations, should be our advocates.

      I do believe we are seeing a changing trend in how people in our profession are perceived. It has come a long way. But the journey is far from over.

  16. When someone includes “With tongue in cheek,…” in any sort of written communication, the author KNOWS that he/she is really saying THIS IS MY REAL OPINION and I am just trying to “protect” myself from any potential backlash. It didn’t work.

    A/E/C marketing and business development professionals are intelligent, insightful, creative, productive, engaging, motivated, innovative….and so much more. Mr. Whitemyer’s disdain for our profession is obvious; his “tongue in cheek” excuse doesn’t work for me. He could have and should have taken a higher road.

  17. Sarah Lowery says:

    Great evaluation and response to a very strange blog post Matt! I read this blog a few weeks ago and was entirely confused. Based on how it’s written, I’m not sure if the writer is seriously trying to dissuade individuals from being an AE Marketer, or if he’s just unsuccessfully trying to be clever? Aside from being entirely off base with his list on why you shouldn’t be an AE Marketer, the writer doesn’t even provide closure at the end to reflect his reasoning on writing the blog. Yes, A/E Marketing is challenging and you have to work hard, but I’m certain being an Architect is equally taxing. I’m not outraged at this blog because it was written by an Architect/ Technical Expert, and not an actual AE Marketing individual. If he is involved in AE Marketing, it may have been worth mentioning that in a closure statement. Unfortunately, the blog presents a highly skewed perspective on the role and disposition of an AE Marketer. With this mindset, I sympathize with the Marketing staff who has to work with him. This blog also reminds me that many Non-Marketers often confuse Marketing Staff and Business Developers/ Sales Staff. While these roles are related, they require entirely different skill sets and responsibilities. I’m sure some individuals take on both these roles, but I find most people who do one of them wouldn’t want to do the other. I am highly introverted (not shy at all) and it is actually beneficial to my production and design work. I always enjoy your writing Matt!

  18. I read the original article, and sadly, I think you missed the point. For example, the “You’re Introverted” part is referring to the fact that introverts probably won’t do as well in a field where you really need to be outgoing to deal with the connections you need to make, having to proactively ask for things, and even to be flexible and ever changing in this market. I wasn’t offended by the article and saw a lot of truth there. All are free to disagree with me and the author who posted the original blog. But I honestly feel like it’s a bit of a stretch to find this blog post offensive. Maybe it doesn’t enrich our profession in any way, but I don’t think it detracts from it. There is a great deal of truth in there.

    • Matt Handal says:

      Karen,

      I’m a little confused by your comments. On one hand, you say you agree with Angela that Dave’s article was “tongue-in-cheek.” I actually hope that’s right. The tongue-in-cheek figure of speech is used to imply that a statement is humorously or otherwise not seriously intended, and it should not be taken at face value.

      But this comment seems to indicate you don’t believe it was tongue-in-cheek and that I missed “the point.” It seems you believe we should take his points seriously. That’s a direct contradiction.

      But let’s look at what you are saying in this comment. You seem to agree with his points about introverts. Again, I implore you and everybody who believes that extroverts have any advantage in sales, leadership, or any other arena…read Adam Grant’s research. It’s not that I disagree with Dave’s point, or that I missed it. It’s that science debunks it.

      I didn’t address every single point Dave made. I could have debated every single one. But I did directly address every “point” you refer to in my rebuttal. I quoted him directly several times.

      You say that it’s “a stretch to find this post offensive.” I don’t think people are offended by what Dave wrote. I think people are offended at where it came from. I think we all realize that there is still sexism in this industry. I think we all realize that people still believe the outdated myths about introverts and extroverts. And we know that many engineers and architects see marketing as “secondary.” What I believe people are having a hard time dealing with is that a consulting group that claims to be an authority on marketing in our industry would promote these views.

      Are we more on the same page now?

  19. Wow. I took the article totally opposite of how most here did. Maybe it’s because I am an old, jaded marketer–in the A/E business since 1988 and in marketing since 1992. My take is that overall he was saying that we marketers are a tough, flexible, hard-working bunch. I mean, it was put on a PSMJ site, so his audience is us, not people looking for AEC marketing jobs. Maybe some of his explanations were a little clumsily worded (bubbly???). But I get what he is saying, and I agree with most of it. You need to be thick-skinned, you need to be flexible, you need to have a personality, if not bubbly, that at least can communicate effectively with clients, bosses, and colleagues. And, fact is, there are still those technical people that do not appreciate what the marketing staff do. So, you may not get as many accolades as you think you should. Maybe this will change, and it probably is as the old boy network retires, but it’s still out there. I really think, in his own way, he was praising the profession and those that can handle it. Because it’s not easy. And we are awesome!

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