My SMPS Foundation White Paper application is a long shot, but at least when I key in (without quotes), SMPS Foundation White Paper, the first Google entry is . . . my blog (blogger version). At least I’ve achieved great Search Engine Optimization for construction marketing issues.
Yesterday, I submitted an application to produce a White Paper for the SMPS (Society for Marketing Professional Services) Foundation. The foundation pays $3,000 to the successful applicants, and the recipients have the opportunity to attend and present their papers to the national Build Business conference.
Do I have a chance of success?
Sending in my proposal just before the 4:00 p.m. deadline yesterday, Ed Klinger, SMPS’s Director of Finance and Administration (and the employee responsible for liaison with the SMPS Foundation, forwarded a copy of the proposal to Michelle Fitzpatrick, of Marketivity. Michelle is vice-president of the SMPS Foundation’s 2008-2009 Board of Trustees.
Michelle’s company has a blog, not actively maintained, but one of her last postings in February, 2009, provides a valuable insight:
Observing how companies are floundering in the recession and chasing impossible bids and dreams, she writes:
Finally, consider imposing ‘Michelle’s Rule:’ if your firm has not had substantive conversations with the client in the last three months about the potential assignment, it’s an automatic no-go, without exception. Enforcing Michelle’s Rule compels everyone to proactively market while focusing resources on promising pursuits and clients instead of uselessly squandering dollars, staff and hope.
Well, I am perhaps somewhat better connected than many SMPS members in that I’ve written several stories for The Marketer, I don’t know Michelle or other trustees personally. The odds are stacked against me.
Still, I broke her rule, applied and still I hope, faintly . . .
This is the real dynamic that affects many contractors, architects and others. It is nice to dream, sometimes, and occasionally, we can win against the odds.
But the best competition we can all engage in is when there is no competition; that is when we are able to make a proposal to a potential client who requires our services and invites us to do the work, or (if we are looking outbound), when we propose a worthy idea to an organization where they haven’t posted a public competition, and you see a real opportunity to provide a valuable service to them. Usually, your chances of success are much greater if you’ve warmed things up with an existing relationship, but sometimes opportunities arise even for cold-call communications if you have a valid reason for connecting. Usually this occurs when you have exceptional knowledge or information of relevance to the person you wish to connect with, and the call is more one of sharing news, then trying to sell stuff.
I probably have rationalized breaking Michelle’s Rule for the same reason many AEC marketers chase long-shots. “I might have a remote chance of winning now, but it sets the stage for a future relationship, where my chances are better.” Maybe, but I think my chances would be a whole lot better if I had engaged and connected with her and other foundation executives long before I reached the stage of even dreaming that the Foundation would send me a cheque for services provided.