Julie Huval, president of Benchley Design, has provided a thoughtful comment to my earlier posting on the limits of data in AEC marketing. I’ll give her some comments some additional prominence here, because they are worthy of additional thought/consideration.
I love analytics and constantly consume marketing data. I agree the analytical tools can be powerful as well as useless (and lead to the proverbial rabbit hole). However, I don’t agree that the data can’t help with big picture stuff. I’ve presented on the topic of digital communication analytics and have worked with several AEC firms on understanding what their data means (one engineering firm I worked with found a new revenue stream based off their analytical data).
If the data from analytics is being used in a vacuum (for example, a one-off project pursuit) then, yes, the number crunching won’t amount to much because analytics help companies benchmark their long-term efforts and how their (digital) audience is interacting with them. However, if the data is used for company growth, expanding into new markets, refining marketing campaigns, and overhauling operations then the big picture is being affected.
Yes, the matrix of factors do lead to project wins. Projects from repeat clients (the livelihood of almost every AEC company) are won based off of customer service. Repeat clients are usually the ones to award the big dollar-value projects. However, analytics can help a company get their foot in the door with a new client. The data measures traction, interest, pain points, etc. Combining analytical data with the matrix of factors is a strategic approach to winning over a new client.
Yes, and Benchley’s website has much content worthy of consideration, because she demonstrates how data analysis can indeed be applied effectively and profitably to AEC practices, even though the number of completed projects would defy conventional statistical analysis.
See, for example, this post How Could The C-Suite Use Digital Analytics?, where she discusses an infographic, giving examples of B2B marketing data, and how the concepts can be applied to AEC practices.
For those of us in a service industry like architecture/engineering/construction I want to point out a few things that might make you say “Uh … that doesn’t apply at my firm!”
For the case study on Anheuser-Busch, they used data from SKUs on their products to give them feedback. Instead of SKUs, think about a case study you may have on your firm’s website. Where is it located? Do visitors have to go two pages in to find the case study? Is it “above the fold”? Is there a call-to-action button driving your audience to the case study? Your firm’s website is a lot like a grocery store. Where you put the goods depends on how your customers will “purchase” them. There is a reason Wal-Mart puts the beer section next to the diaper section. Wal-Mart knows the likelihood of mothers sending the fathers to the grocery store for diapers. Late at night. And as a trade-off for getting out of their recliners, into their cars, and driving across town to get diapers they might as well pick up a case of Miller Lite. Besides, it is not like they have to walk across the store to grab a pack. IT IS RIGHT THERE! Do the same thing with your firm’s goods on your website.
She also has a nifty observation about the value of loading content on the the corporate website and using search functions — to facilitate internal communication and external marketing.
Editors note: One spin-off in reviewing her content: I was reminded of how this site is so badly outdated. We’re talking five years now since the last rebuild — done urgently during the Christmas break when I crashed the system. I’ve discovered a new theme, after some fiddling, installed it. But there is work to make the new theme “right” — and so I’ve reverted — in the process, losing some of the datapoints and connections, so there will be some gaps in this website until I can complete the conversion process.
Your own comments are most welcome? Have you been able to adapt/use data in your AEC marketing and business development. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment here.